New Heinz Bottle Cap Took 185K Hours to Design

This one will be a lot easier to recycle
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2022 1:42 PM CST
Heinz Went Through 45 Prototypes to Design New Ketchup Bottle Cap
Heinz Ketchup on display in a supermarket in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Heinz didn't go through 57 varieties of bottle caps before it settled on a new design for its squeezy bottles—but it was close. The redesign involved 185,000 hours of product development over nine years and Heinz went through 45 iterations, Fast Company reports. Previous innovations created ketchup bottles that could be stored upside down without leaking. The main change this time is that the cap is made from the same easily recycled material as the rest of the bottle. Scan of the Month, a website with CT scans of consumer items, notes that cap being replaced is a "complex assembly of multiple plastic materials, making recycling difficult."

Heinz said in a press release that the biggest problem with the existing design is the flexible silicone valve, "which had been designed to deliver the ideal portion of sauce per squeeze, but was typically challenging to recycle." The company worked with outside firms before turning to an internal research and development team, which used a 3D printer to experiment with dozens of designs. "The biggest challenges were getting to similar performance of the current closure, addressing the challenges of the current one, and meeting our consumers’ needs," Kraft Heinz senior packaging manager Kim Bertens-Vlems tells Fast Company.

Heinz, which says it is interested in sharing the design with makers of other products, announced the completed redesign last year. It's being launched in Europe first and it's not clear when the new caps will be on ketchup bottles in the US. The company says the change will keep more than a billion ketchup lids per year out of landfills. CBS reports that Heinz announced another eco-friendly project earlier this year. The company said it was working with Pulpex, a sustainable packaging company, on a "paper-based, renewable and recyclable bottle" that would be made from "100% sustainably sourced wood pulp." (More packaging stories.)

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