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By: Joanna McNurlen

In the highly competitive yet not so highly publicized 2012 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, a group of scientists came up with a revolutionary new product called LiquiGlide.

LiquiGlide is a nontoxic coating that can beapplied to the interior of condiment bottles (and other types of food packaging) to make the bottles super slippery, maximizing the amount of condiment you get from your bottle and minimizing the amount of time it takes to get it.

In other words, instead of this

You get this:

Such a product could dramatically improve the quality of life for a variety of people, from frustrated barbecue-goers to moody restaurant servers – anybody sick of the painfully viscous “drip, drip” that delays ketchup consumption.

Yet the H. J. Heinz Company, the world’s largest ketchup manufacturer, prides itself on its slow-moving product: the companywebsite boasts that its ketchup exits the iconic glass bottle at .028 miles per hour, and any ketchup with a velocity greater than that speed is rejected for sale. In other words, the product’s snail-like pace is a point of pride in the company – a key product feature that is central to the Heinz brand.

So what does LiquiGlide mean for Heinz? Incorporating the product into ketchup bottles could bring delight to its impatient consumers, or it could alienate those who value the magma-esque flow. From a financialstandpoint, LiquiGlide could hurt Heinz’s profits, since consumers would get every drop of ketchup out of their bottles and not need to refill as often. The company must also consider its competition, which could profit immensely ifHeinz forgoes a technology that turns out to be popular among consumers.

Granted, LiquiGlide has yet to be FDA-approved, so we’re a little ways off from a friction-free french fry accompaniment, but Heinz still will have to decide what’s best for its brand and its bottom line. Personally, I hope they use the technology – this former waitress has spent far too many hours filling bottles with slow-moving ketchup not to be a fan.

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