The number on the Heinz ketchup bottle does not signify the number of Heinz kinds of ketchup there are as some people might believe. Keep reading to find out what it really means.
Ketchup is one of the most controversial condiments. And this is a fact for many reasons including how it is spelt (some spell it ketchup, others catsup) and the taste (some claim it has the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and umami flavors, while others describe its taste as sugary tomato water.)
Even the eating of it is always debated; the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has declared in the past that putting ketchup on a hot dog is totally unacceptable for people over a certain age.
Then there’s the ketchup bottle itself. The Heinz slogan, “57 varieties,” is an iconic one that has remained in use since it originated in 1892, and it now appears on every ketchup bottle as well as every other Heinz product.
But what does it really mean? Does Heinz really make 57 different types of ketchup? Or maybe they mean it can be used in 57 ways?
Neither of that is the answer. The correct answer to this question is simple – It’s just a random number.
According to the Smithsonian, Henry J. Heinz coined the slogan while he was on a train. He saw an ad in the train car advertising “21 styles” of shoes and decided that “catchiness and resonance were far more important qualities for a company slogan than literal accuracy.”
All he needed was a memorable number that consumers would immediately associate with his brand. At the time, his company sold more than 60 products, including minced meat, apple butter, pickles, and pepper sauce, however, that didn’t influence his choice.
He chose 57 for a more sentimental reason: Five was his lucky number, and seven was his wife’s. The slogan is now commonly associated with the Heinz brand just like he wanted and now you know why. Spread the word.