Today, the Heinz name is being put to good use once again, still in a consumerist fashion, but with the same vein of philanthropy running through that H. J. Heinz made a company mainstay back in the 19th century (McCafferty, 95). In August of 2014, Heinz struck a deal with Ford motors, another American-born company, to research how to make car parts out of Heinz ketchup waste (Iozzio). The process of producing ketchup produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of unused tomato peels, as the fibers are too tough for the end product, so those same fibers are hopefully going to be used in the production of car parts (Iozzio). “Working with Ford specialists, they hope to use the waste to make more sustainable, reinforced composites and reduce the use of petrochemicals in vehicle manufacture (“Ford to Make”).” Not only does the deal appeal to Heinz, which has to dispose of “two million tons” of unused tomato refuse each year, but it will also be good for Ford’s “bottom line,” since the new material would replace plastics, and reduce dependence on oil, but would also eliminate the need for talc, which, “used to make the rest of the compound, is a mined resource, and therefore limited (Iozzio).” The move will increase the branding power of both Ford and Heinz, and help the companies profit from an increase in consumers’ environmental awareness. The new composite plastics would be both lighter and eventually compostable, making for better fuel efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint—a product that is a boon for both producers and consumers in the end (Iozzio).
American businessman and researcher Peter Hawken asserts that the average American child can identify 10,000 corporate logos but not 10 plants in their localized area (Drengen, 166). In an age where consumers are increasingly inundated and influenced by brands and advertising, it is imperative that we retain the philanthropic, caring mindset of the Heinz empire for both the product and the people involved in its making and consumption. Progressive acts like Heinz’ connection with Ford are an example of how to brand a product in a responsible manner such that consumers know the earth is precious and worth saving, even by companies who sell its fruits. The Heinz legacy lives on in acts like this one; perhaps consumerism will not be the downfall of humanity after all.
- Drengson, Alan, and Duncan Taylor. Wild Foresting: Practicing Nature’s Wisdom. Gabriola Island: New Society, Limited, 2008. Print.
- “Ford to Make Car Parts from Heinz Ketchup Waste.” TCE: Chemical Engineer July-Aug. 2014: 19. The Chemical Engineer. July-Aug. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
- Iozzio, Corinne. “Making Car Parts from Tomatoes.” Smithsonian 18 June 2014: n. pag. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.