Heinz Spent $1.2 Million Dollars, 185,000 Hours, And 8 Years To Redesign Their Ketchup Bottle Cap
It may have taken ketchup royalty company Heinz around 185,000 hours, 8 years and at least 45 different product designs to switch things up, but the company has finally managed to redesign their bottle cap into something completely recyclable.
Aside from all the time and effort that went into the project, it also cost the company a whopping $1.2 million in research and development as well. But a huge reason why they chose to put so much money and work into this particular endeavor is because at least 1 billion of their former unrecyclable caps fill tons of landfills each and every year.
Aside from Del Monte and French’s, Heinz has been one of the biggest ketchup names on the market. But more than that, their signature cap is one that kids tend to not complain about opening, making it much easier for busy moms when feeding their kids in a hurry without worrying about making a huge mess.
The fact that Heinz’s infamous silicone stop valve was one that squirted out a consistent and basically perfect flow of ketchup means that you never poured more onto your plate than you wanted, something other brands with twist-top cap covers can’t say for themselves.
However, because the original silicone valve cover was so perfect, it made it “very difficult to recycle,” as explained by global head of ESG at Kraft Heinz, Jonah Smith in an interview with Fast Company.
Smith went on to say, “It’s possible, it’s just more difficult.” That’s because recycling facilities need to separate the silicone from the rest of the cap, which majorly adds on to the cost for such a small piece of material. This is also because at the moment, there is only one silicone recycling plant within the United States.
According to international senior packaging manager at Kraft Heinz, Kim Bertens-Vlems who is based out of the Netherlands, “The biggest challenges were getting to similar performance of the current closure, addressing the challenges of the current one, and meeting our consumers’ needs… which led to the 45 iterations. Changing some of the aspects affected the other criteria, therefore getting the balance right was the main challenge.”
During their R&D phase, Heinz made at least 45 various designs to recreate the best new cap they could. They were printed in the company’s in-house state-of-the-art 3D printer, reaching their final prototype eventually. Finally, they managed to decide on a polypropylene design that worked just as thoroughly as it did before, with the exception of being 100% recyclable immediately after use.
What this means for single plastic trash is that rather than the one billion plastic caps, which have the ability to fill up to 35 Olympic swimming pools, can actually be recycled rather than ending up in landfills that have continuously polluted the earth for decades.
Heinz also explained in their interview with Fast Company that this new design doesn’t only work with their ketchup bottles, but could also work perfectly for other products such as shampoo and the like. They are even willing to share their design with other companies dealing with the same issues with their packaging.
Although Heinz has yet to announce a date for their world-wide corporate rollout, they plan to launch the new caps on their bottles in the United Kingdom soon.
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