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W Ketchup


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W Ketchup
Topic: Current Events 5:59 pm EDT, Jul 30, 2004

] You don't support Democrats.
] Why should your ketchup?

Ketchup is nothing more than flavored tomato paste. Something that looks and tastes a lot like Heinz Ketchup can be made in your kitchen sink without so much as bending a copyright rule. It is effectively all freely-redistributable objects: tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and spices. So why don't we, as consumers, make ketchup in our kitchen sink, and how does Heinz have 80% of the ketchup market?

We don't make ketchup because it is cheaper and much more convenient to buy ketchup from Heinz, Hunts, or Del Monte than it is to make it. But convenience is only part of the story. Convenience alone would suggest that Heinz, Hunts, and Del Monte share the market equally because they offer roughly equivalent convenience. In fact, Heinz owns 80% of the market.

Heinz owns 80% of the market not because Heinz tastes better. If you go to the Third World and find 100 people who have never tasted ketchup before, you find out two things: one is that people don't actually like tomato ketchup, the other is that they dislike all ketchups equally.

Heinz has 80% of the ketchup market because they have been able to define the taste of ketchup in the mind of ketchup consumers. Now the Heinz Ketchup brand is so effective that as consumers we think that ketchup that will not come out of the bottle is somehow better than ketchup that pours easily!

W Ketchup

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