Heinz Ketchup: Lucky Number 57

Heinz Ketchup: Lucky Number 57
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Every product has its story, but rarely do we stop to think about the background of how it came to be. Take Heinz Ketchup, for example.

In 1869, Henry John Heinz launched what is now known as H.J. Heinz Company. Commencing sales with bottled horseradish and quickly expanding to sauerkraut, vinegar and pickles, Heinz had a mission: to pack the typical, bland American diet full of more flavor. Adding ketchup to the product line in 1876, Heinz decided one more thing needed spicing up; their marketing. Riding a train through New York City, he noticed an advertising placement for "21 styles of shoes." Deeming this a clever way to effectively market, he coined the "57 varieties" slogan, which is found on the Heinz Ketchup label, in 1892.

Although the company was already selling over 60 varieties at the time, Heinz chose 57 by joining his lucky number five with his wife's lucky number seven. Indeed this number did have a stroke of luck, landing Heinz as the largest exhibit of any U.S. food company at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. The company thrived, overcoming sales hurdles such as the Great Depression and World War II.

At the height of World War II, Jack Heinz, formally known as H.J. Heinz II, continued in his father's (Howard Heinz) and grandfather's (Henry Heinz) footsteps. Active in food relief, he made four war-time trips to England, examining food issues. The company was honored by the 57th Squadron of the 446th Army Air Force, which chose a winged pickle marked "57" as their emblem.

Today, the H.J. Heinz Company sells more than 5,700 varieties across 6 continents and more than 200 countries.

Everyone commences their journey somewhere. For Heinz, it all began with lucky number 57.