New Heinz Ketchup, Not Available in Stores

Oct 26, 2011 3:21pm
gty heinz ketchup 2 dm 111026 wblog New Heinz Ketchup, Not Available in Stores

                                                                                        JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Move over Grey Poupon.

Your partner in the condiment market is getting a flavor upgrade, one that will put it in line to compete for customers with a more sophisticated palette.

Ketchup-maker Heinz will next month debut a new variety of its signature Heinz Tomato Ketchup, created with balsamic vinegar instead of the traditional white vinegar, the New York Times reports.

The company says ketchup fans will now be able to “experience the richer, more sophisticated side of America’s Favorite Ketchup.”

Instead of slopping it on your burger at a backyard barbeque, Heinz recommends customers pair the new “Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Balsamic Vinegar” with a “Haute Dog,” “Hamburgeur” or “French Frites.”

Adding to the exclusivity of the new option, customers who want to give the balsamic version a try when it’s released Nov. 14 won’t be able to just pick it up at their local supermarket.

The balsamic variety will be made available only to friends of the brand’s Facebook page until late December, when it’s released to stores.

Trying the new ketchup, sold only in the 14-ounce glass Heinz bottles now seen only in restaurants, will not be cheap.  The balsamic blend will carry a price of $2.49, compared with $1.89 for the original bottle of the same size.  And tack on an additional $2 shipping charge if you can’t wait until December and order it through Facebook instead.

As a “limited edition” item, the ketchup will only stay on U.S. supermarket shelves through March, when the Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz will decide whether to make it permanent.

Heinz fans in the U.K. got a sneak peek of the new ketchup when it was released there in March.

A review in the Telegraph gave the balsamic version a sophisticated thumbs up.

“The taste is unmistakably tomato ketchup,” the review says.  “It has the same immediate hit of vinegary tartness, followed by a teeth-stripping sweetness. But whereas ordinary ketchup has little, or no, “finish” as wine tasters would say, the balsamic version has a depth to it.”

The new flavor is the first major change to Heinz’s signature ketchup recipe since 2000, when Heinz offered ketchup in colors besides its traditional red to appeal to kids.  That effort, which featured ketchup in colors such as green and purple, was discontinued in 2003.

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