I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this Wall Street Journal piece about the new Heinz Dip and Squeeze ketchup packaging. The package was redesigned because it can be difficult to open and messy. But that’s not the part that gets me. The part that gets me is that the new packets were tested in fake minivan interiors.

Yep, you read that right. The minivan has become such a common dining space that Heinz made sure its new ketchup packaging was minivan-worthy.

To develop the new packet, Heinz staffers sat behind one-way, mirrored glass, watching consumers in 20 fake minivan interiors putting ketchup on fries, burgers, and chicken nuggets. To try the new prototypes himself, Mike Okoroafor, Heinz vice president of global packaging innovation and execution, bought a used minivan, taking it to local McDonald's and Wendy's drive-throughs to order fries and apply ketchup in the confined space.
"I wasn't going to use my car — too messy," he says.

In fact, the previous ketchup packaging was so messy that Heinz believed it stopped “people from ordering fries at drive-thrus.”

That, obviously, needed to be remedied. We can’t have people eating meals in their minivans without fries.

My problem here isn’t with Heinz. My problem is with consumers who require a packet for the minivan. We are eating so many meals in our cars, with our children mindlessly staring at the back of our heads instead of looking in our eyes across a table during conversation, that we need to change the ketchup packets!

I've decided. The next sound you hear will be me crying.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

New ketchup packet is minivan-ready
When Heinz created its new Dip and Squeeze ketchup packaging, it tested the fast-food packaging in fake minivans.