Heinz Plastic Ketchup Bottle –Does it Create Significant Customer Benefit?
Heinz new plastic bottle design creates new flexibility for the product and enhances the ease of use and storage in a way that can be positioned as an innovation in product design and functionality. This product development was largely driven by technological enhancements versus market pressures, and therefore the enhancement of features needs to be positioned as solving a significant need or desire present during the consumption experience and their advertising campaign should focus on how existing consumption “occasions” would be enhanced by the new packaging.
Heinz attempted to get a handle on consumer purchasing and consumption behavior through hiring Market Facts to conduct a market study. The Market Facts study created a wealth of usable data but this case does not illuminate whether the features outlined in the market survey were deemed important by Market Facts or were created through customer feedback. When determining whether the plastic bottle is in fact a product innovation, the product manager needs to have a sense of how people use the product and what features the consumer found to be important when deciding to purchase Heinz versus a competitor. Understanding and enhancing the consumption experience through ease of use in the packaging is essential to marketing this product.
Due to the product mishaps that can occur during a consumption experience, the enhanced safety of the new product can be leveraged to create a sense of product innovation. A large amount of ketchup’s eating occasions occurs in environments where the safety of the plastic bottle will be an advantage. With 30% of the ketchup eating “occasions” being experienced by children and with the highest period of volume consumed occurring in June and July (most likely due to outdoor eating events, which is shown by the most popular uses for ketchup – hamburgers, French fries and hot dogs-), families will find the limited amount of mess (due to the bottle’s new opening) and the shatterproof design to lessen the stress of such events.
Product size seems to be a factor in purchasing decisions, and the data that highlights the increased percent of purchases for the 32 oz. Bottle has impacted Heinz’s decision to create a 28 oz. Bottle (versus a larger size). Where the survey data shows that the 32 oz. is purchased last 53% of the time, the data does not illuminate why. It could be due to a human behavior where we realize that purchasing in larger quantities is cheaper by volume but we feel financially uncomfortable purchasing the largest size, or it could be due to the way the bottle fits within the refrigerator or how easily children can handle the bottle; and perhaps consumers would regularly purchase a 40 oz size if that was the next to the largest size available. Again, studies on consumer behavior in relation to size purchasing decisions would be useful to either leverage when promoting the ease...