January 16, 2009 / 9:28 PM / 9 years ago

Heinz ketchup says goodbye pickle, hello tomato

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Heinz ketchup, one of the most well-known products gracing grocery store shelves and diner countertops, is getting a make-over after more than 100 years.

H.J. Heinz Co is replacing the pickle on its ketchup bottles with something that is actually in the product: a tomato.

The gherkin pickle has been a fixture on Heinz ketchup labels since the 1890s. In 1893, H.J. Heinz himself decided to hand out pickle pins to drum up business at the Chicago World's Fair. The pins were popular, with people at the fair lining up to get them, the company said. So the connection stuck.

"With all due respect to the pickle, which has served Heinz dutifully since the 19th century, we are shifting the spotlight to the tomato," Chairman and CEO William Johnson said in a statement.

Heinz said consumers should start seeing the new bottles in stores early this year and in restaurants later in 2009. The product will also be featured in the brand's largest marketing campaign since the 1980s.

Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Matthew Lewis

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