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BY DEB MAGNESS

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"It's empowered them in a way that they have always desired but haven't had an opportunity, until now; it's a ketchup they can call their own."

PITTSBURGH, July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking another first for the nation's ketchup king, the H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) has announced plans for the fall launch of Heinz EZ Squirt, the first ketchup designed especially for kids. Developed in partnership with kids throughout the country, Heinz EZ Squirt helps to transform kids' favorite foods through innovative packaging that provides better control and more fun at mealtime. Tapping into the enormous opportunity associated with America's favorite condiment -- and kids' appetite for it -- Heinz EZ Squirt is expected to increase kids' mealtime fun as well as their trips to the fridge.

As the #1 consumer of ketchup, kids consume more than half of all ketchup in the United States. Squirting ketchup onto everything from burgers to broccoli, kids consume more than five billion ounces of ketchup each year.

Until now, however, kids have not had a ketchup to call their own. Developed with input from more than 1,000 kids, Heinz has given its favorite consumer the final say, relying on their assistance for the product's packaging, dispensing system, name selection and new color choice.

Heinz EZ Squirt features one-of-a-kind packaging innovations that help to make mealtime fun for kids: a new nozzle provides kids with better control and an ultra-thin stream that directs ketchup exactly where kids want it. Whether it's an airplane on a sandwich or flowers on a french fry, Heinz EZ Squirt allows kids to personalize their food in new and exciting ways. The new bottle is also customized with kids' needs in mind, featuring cool curves for smaller hands and easier squeezing. Moms don't miss out either because Heinz EZ Squirt is enriched with Vitamin C, making it the first and only ketchup fortified for children.

Kids want to squirt in style, and Heinz understands how color plays an important part in making food more interesting. To help kids transform their food like never before, Heinz EZ Squirt will also be available in Blastin' Green, a fun, new color aimed at providing children with excitement and variety at mealtime.

"As every parent knows, kids have long used ketchup to personalize their food," said Joe Jimenez, president and CEO, Heinz North America. "Heinz is bringing fun to food with a ketchup that physically and intuitively encourages both control and creativity."


Heinz Gets Pointers From Its Loyal Fans

In consumer research, both moms and kids gave Heinz EZ Squirt enthusiastic reviews. One of the features that captured overwhelming attention was the super-thin stream provided by the new nozzle. Among the key consumer insights was the observation that kids naturally become more creative when using a thinner stream of ketchup.

The bottle itself also received praise for providing greater control. The Heinz EZ Squirt bottle features softer plastic and ergonomic curves to assist kids with easier squeezing and control. The custom-fit curves accommodate kids' instinctive two-handed grip, which, unlike their parents' routine, 'stirs the pot' in a circular motion when squeezing ketchup.

Declaring 'no more ordinary meals,' Heinz EZ Squirt fulfills a pledge to add excitement to kids' favorite foods. New Blastin' Green EZ Squirt ketchup redefines what a condiment can do. When asked for suggestions on how to improve ketchup, new color was among the most frequently mentioned suggestions by children. During interviews with kids, green was consistently cited as one of their favorite colors.

With kids represented in more than 33 million U.S. households, products marketed to this influential consumer make up a $10 billion business for today's retailers. "We gained important, even subtle, insights from kids about their need for control and creativity at mealtime," said Jimenez. "Kids told us how to make eating a better experience, and Heinz EZ Squirt is the solution that lets kids personalize their food."







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