Monday, February 8, 2010

Would you like ketchup with that?

Heinz has re-designed the ketchup packet.  Called the Dip & Squeeze (TM), the new packet "gives you pinpoint accuracy.  So you can put delicious Heinz ketchup exactly where you want it."  It was the poor performance of ketchup in the original packet that led to this redesign.
(The original packet was introduced in 1968.)
Ketchup is a fascinating rheological fluid.  It is pseudoplastic (shear thinning), thixotropic, and has a yield stress.  My first fluid mechanics professor used ketchup as an example when discussing non-Newtonian behavior. 

Here are some rheological data on ketchup, generated by the Rheo Thing blog.

Hat tip: The Associated Press

Disclosure: I work for ConAgra Foods, which makes and sells Hunt's ketchup.  Hunt's is the #2 brand behind Heinz in the United States.

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