The Great Expansion
BY Leah Genuario
Packaging unlocks growth opportunity at Heinz.
Barbeque season is here and happy picnickers have H.J. Heinz Company to thank for their copious supply of ketchup. Driven by the marketing efforts of Wendy Beitsinger Joyce, consumers these days are foregoing small sizes of ketchup in favor of larger bottles of the popular condiment.
Under Beitsinger Joyce’s leadership as senior brand manager, Heinz launched the Fridge Fit ketchup bottle in 2006, an easy-to-handle, easy-to-store package in two sizes: 46 oz. and 64 oz. The packaging redesign was part of a holistic marketing effort that also included a new color-coding communication system, a change in shelf positioning and increased prominence of larger sizes in in-store promotions.
“The key to the success of Fridge Fit was the holistic approach and cross-functional effort, which involved all key functions of the business through the entire innovation process,” says Beitsinger Joyce, citing the cooperation of marketing, sales, package engineering and outside vendors.
The initial idea to revamp and promote the larger size ketchup segment stemmed from the company’s exploration of consumer behavior and how consumer needs could be better met.
“We had data that suggested ketchup was an expandable category. When consumers purchased larger sizes, they consumed more ketchup. Yet our business model was designed to sell smaller sizes,” she says.
Beitsinger Joyce and the team at Heinz aimed to drive growth by seizing that opportunity in expandable consumption. And it worked. The 46-oz. Fridge Fit is now enjoying the number two SKU spot in the category, with increased brand sales numbers driven by growth in larger sizes.
“Packaging was the key that unlocked the whole growth opportunity for us,” Beitsinger Joyce says.
Packaging at Heinz
Founded in 1869, H.J. Heinz Company has a long heritage of quality. And Beitsinger Joyce is quick to mention that consumers love the thick, familiar taste of Heinz ketchup and are not looking for change there. For this reason, “packaging innovation has been a key competitive advantage for our brand,” she says. “We view it as a critical element to brand identity and brand strategy.”
Like all well-developed packaging ideas, Beitsinger Joyce says, Heinz bottles must deliver impact at the shelf, clear communication and functionality throughout the entire life cycle.
Creating packaging initiatives for a brand that has become an American icon, however, comes with another challenge as well. “How do you evolve, how do you differentiate, but not walk away from the core equity and iconic nature that is so recognizable?” she asks.
For the Fridge Fit packaging, this challenge was met by using the brand’s recognizable keystone-shaped label and a bottle profile inspired by the shape of Heinz’s classic glass bottle.
Balancing traditional equities with contemporary innovations is a serious responsibility, and an active goal, for the brand. In addition to its rousing success with the Fridge Fit bottle, Heinz also realized significant return on investment from its upside-down bottles launched in 2003.
Move to packaging
So what brought Beitsinger Joyce to lead a team with the task of revitalizing the ketchup category through a smartly designed ketchup bottle?
At 33 years of age, Beitsinger Joyce has already enjoyed a varied career in consumer products, staring out as an environmental engineer before transferring into brand management four years later.
“I felt I had found the perfect fit—a balance between analytical rigor, problem solving and creative design/advertising,” she explains.
In 2003, Beitsinger Joyce accepted a senior brand management position at Heinz. It was in her first week with the company that she met Wayne Cleary, a packaging veteran Beitsinger Joyce says imbued the importance of functionality in package design.
“He explained the technology and science behind packaging,” she says. “One thing I learned was marrying functionality with aesthetics improves the total experience.” It was a lesson she helped successfully employ with the Fridge Fit project.
Beitsinger Joyce has recently moved into a new position at Heinz, now serving as the marketing director for the Ore-Ida potatoes business. Her innovations with ketchup, however, will not soon be forgotten.
“The development of the Fridge Fit bottle behind our upsize strategy for Heinz ketchup has been one of the most rewarding team efforts of my career and will likely be on the short list of initiations I will remember on the day I retire,” she says.
WENDY BEITSINGER JOYCE
MARKETING DIRECTOR, ORE-IDA, HEINZ NORTH AMERICA
Name: Wendy Beitsinger Joyce
Title: Marketing director, Ore-Ida, Heinz North America
Years in current job: Four months in current role, 3.5 years in ketchup
Ultimate branded package: Heinz Ketchup and/or Coca-Cola
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