After 150 Years, Heinz Finally Told Us the Best Way to Pour Ketchup

Heinz Ketchup Canada, YouTube
Heinz Ketchup Canada, YouTube

Heinz exploded onto the ketchup scene nearly 150 years ago, which means ketchup has been exploding onto our hot dogs, French fries, and faces in unpredictable gobs for that long, too. Now, the condiment colossus has finally shared the secret to unlocking smooth, scarlet streams of tomato sauce without all the mess.

A Heinz Canada spokesperson told Food & Wine that the perfect angle is between 35 and 45 degrees, so you should hold your bottle a little closer to a horizontal position than a vertical one. For those of you with questionable angle-estimation skills, Heinz Canada partnered with a creative agency called Rethink Canada to come up with an interactive cheat sheet—a line of bottles on which the Heinz ketchup label is tilted downward when the bottle is upright. Tip your bottle until the label is exactly vertical, and there’s your perfect pouring angle. One note: You must hold the bottle in your right hand in order for the trick to work (Sorry, left-handers).

“We’re always thinking of fun, cheeky ways we can highlight the iconic and timeless nature of the product to give our consumers a smile,” Brian Neumann, senior brand manager at The Kraft Heinz Company Canada, told AdAge.

Right now, the geometrically labeled bottles are only available in Toronto, so you’ll have to rely on your eyes or your pocket protractor if you can’t wait to impress your friends with the spurt-less ketchup tutorial of their dreams.

And you can pair your demonstration with an explanation of why the beloved condiment is so dang hard to pour in the first place; in short, it’s a non-Newtonian fluid, so its viscosity changes depending on how hard, how long, and how fast force is applied to it. More on that—plus some other helpful tips on how to pour it like a pro—here.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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What Really Happens When Food Goes Down the 'Wrong Pipe'?

The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
Photo by Adrienn from Pexels

Your average person isn’t expected to be well-versed in the linguistics of human anatomy, which is how we wind up with guns for biceps and noggins for heads. So when swallowing something is followed by throat irritation or coughing, the fleeting bit of discomfort is often described as food “going down the wrong pipe.” But what’s actually happening?

When food is consumed, HuffPost reports, more than 30 muscles activate to facilitate chewing and swallowing. When the food is ready to leave your tongue and head down to your stomach, it’s poised near the ends of two "pipes," the esophagus and the trachea. You want the food to take the esophageal route, which leads to the stomach. Your body knows this, which is why the voice box and epiglottis shift to close off the trachea, the “wrong pipe” of ingestion.

Since we don’t typically hold our breath when we eat, food can occasionally take a wrong turn into the trachea, an unpleasant scenario known as aspiration, which triggers an adrenaline response and provokes coughing and discomfort. Dislodging the food usually eases the sensation, but if it’s enough to become stuck, you have an obstructed airway and can now be officially said to be choking.

The “wrong pipe” can also be a result of eating while tired or otherwise distracted or the result of a mechanical problem owing to illness or injury.

You might also notice that this happens more often with liquids. A sip of water may provoke a coughing attack. That’s because liquids move much more quickly, giving the body less time to react.

In extreme cases, food or liquids headed in the “wrong” direction can wind up in the lungs and cause pneumonia. Fortunately, that’s uncommon, and coughing tends to get the food moving back into the esophagus.

The best way to minimize the chances of getting food stuck is to avoid talking with your mouth full—yes, your parents were right—and thoroughly chew sensible portions.

If you experience repeated bouts of aspiration, it’s possible an underlying swallowing disorder or neurological problem is to blame. An X-ray or other tests can help diagnose the issue.

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