A Better Ketchup Bottle?

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 25, 2012    •    753 Views

In a 1964 TV commercial, during a pouring contest between 2 young boys, Heinz ketchup was “…too thick and rich to run.” In another ad, Heinz lost an OK Coral duel because it was the “slowest ketchup in the west…east, north and south.”

Now though, Heinz might have a problem.

Trying to develop a super slippery coating that would prevent deep sea oil pipes from clogging, scientists in an MIT lab created LiquiGlide. Used on the surface of a Heinz plastic container, LiquiGlide makes ketchup slide right out.

I suspect Heinz might not want its ketchup to pour more quickly.

However, even if the private cost to Heinz is considerable, citing the time millions of people would save, an economist would look at how the social benefit–the positive externality–is much greater. And that is why this story is about a lot more than ketchup.

Here you can see fast flowing Heinz Ketchup and here, a 1964 Heinz Ketchup race. And, if you are interested in reading about super slippery surfaces, this article describes the work of a Harvard lab.

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