Heinz’s Colorful Experiment: Breaking the Rules of Ketchup


In the year 2000, Heinz Corporation made a bold and risky move. Something that defied the norms of the condiment industry and dared to break the sacred law of ketchup: that it must always, always be red.
By introducing a range of vibrant colors, Heinz's unconventional experiment challenged traditions. And lead to a remarkable success story.
In this blog, we'll delve into Heinz's audacious venture into the world of colored ketchup. Pull out the things we can learn. Then discuss the valuable lessons we could all apply in our businesses.

The Birth of Blastin' Green

Heinz's journey into the world of colored ketchup began with a stroke of inspiration. They decided to introduce a new color to their ketchup lineup. It was christened 'Blastin Green.'
Green ketchup? Can you imagine seeing this on the shelf? What would be your reaction?
This unconventional choice actually captured children's attention and sparked their curiosity. They loved it, embraced the change, and to everyone's surprise, the demand for green ketchup skyrocketed.

I Can Sing A (Ketchup) Rainbow

Encouraged by the success of Blastin Green, Heinz decided to take it further. Soon enough, shelves were filled with ketchup bottles of all colors - including orange, blue, teal, purple, and pink. So challenging the long-standing notion that ketchup could only be red.
The response? The market again responded enthusiastically, and Heinz saw a significant surge in sales.

Unprecedented Success

Heinz's colorful experiment proved to be a resounding triumph. Over six years, the erm, (weird?), (I dont’ get “the erm, weird? —- perhaps I’m not the target audience? Or looking too closely? ketchup offerings generated a staggering $200,000,000 in revenue.
Initially, the company projected they'd sell a fraction of this amount in the entire year. But they exceeded those expectations in just 90 days!

Lessons Learned

  • 1

    Don't be afraid to change things up

    This story reminds us of the importance of embracing change. Heinz breathed new life into a product that had remained largely unchanged for decades. Innovation and risk-taking can lead to remarkable outcomes.

  • 2

    Question unwritten rules

    Heinz's bold move challenged the unwritten rule that ketchup must be red. So question traditional norms. Open yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities for growth.

  • 3

    Sacred cows taste just as good

    Heinz's success shattered the notion that conventional approaches are always superior. By stepping out of our comfort zones and challenging established beliefs, we can get extraordinary results.

  • 4

    "That's the way it's always been done" is not a winning strategy

    Heinz's experiment challenged the status quo. It showed that clinging to outdated practices can hinder progress. That we should - no, must - be willing to adapt and evolve to stay ahead.

  • 5

    Offer something new without discarding the old

    Heinz kept their classic red version during the multicolored ketchup experiment. What does this mean for us? That innovation can coexist with tradition.


Heinz's venture challenged the status quo. It shattered all expectations and generated substantial revenue. And served as a reminder that embracing change can inspire individuals and businesses.

By taking risks, questioning norms, and offering something different - while at the same time retaining what works - we can pave the way for success.

Sometimes, breaking the sacred laws of tradition can be a recipe for triumph.

Get in touch now!

Blog inspired by a Linkedin post written by Blaine Feyen.