I think we’ve all been out somewhere, chowing down on a grab-and-go meal, and experienced mild dismay when we couldn’t get the last drops of – whatever condiment – out of the plastic pillow pack. Now Heinz is offering a gadget it says will change your life…
As you may have noticed, Kraft/Heinz has taken pains to put itself in the customer awareness forefront of the condiment industry over the past few years. That’s ignited a war, of sorts, with chief competitor French’s, the outcome of which remains in question. But that’s another story for another day.
Responding to the eternal lament of take-out condiment users, that they can never get ALL the goo out of those little plastic pillow packs, Heinz has now come out with a new gadget designed to do just that. According to the Packet Roller website, Heinz claims the device is, in fact, going to ‘change everything’…
“Do not click “purchase” unless you are prepared to change everything about the way you sauce. Gone are the days of fumbling with ketchup packets, pants ruined by mustard disasters, and minutes taken off your life trying to get to the bottom of that mayo packet. With the patent-pending Heinz Packet Roller, what was once taxing becomes simple – just snip and roll to squeeze out every drop of your sauce of choice. 100% sauce extraction for 100% sauce satisfaction. That’s the Heinz Packet Roller.”
How it does what it does…
Play the video from the Packet Roller website, linked above, for the ‘inside story’ and to get a demo.
But it’s clear, just from looking at the still photos, that the device is unnecessarily complicated and, I suspect it’s been designed that way intentionally, to evoke awe from Heinz fans. Of course, it’s shaped vaguely like a Heinz Ketchup bottle, and you turn the signature white ‘cap’ to feed sauce packets through.
Let’s get one thing out of the way before we continue with the discussion: The Packet roller does work. But, while it will be easy and convenient for women to carry in their purses, it will be problematic for men. And I wonder about cleaning it. I mean, it will need cleaning from time to time. And if it’s made from conventional styrene plastic, it won’t be safe to just stick in the dish washer.
What’s more, this gadget – which reminds me of the kind of thing companies hand out free at conventions as promo trinkets – is selling for a surprisingly hefty (US)$5.70. That includes applicable taxes, but shipping is $2 more. And you have to order them one at a time (incurring multiple shipping charges) if you’re planning on giving them as gifts. (Maybe a novelty Christmas Stocking stuffer?)
The Packet Roller is not unique, by any means. I’ve seen any number of toothpaste tube squeezers from models consisting of a couple of plastic rods and a pair of rubber bands, to manual models with butterfly turning handles, to motorized ‘automatic’ ones (probably adapted from electric pepper mills or cheese graters).
The basic model works just as well as the fancy ones. And I want to note that gents could easily carry it in that little pouch in their jeans that was originally intended for a pocket watch.
The online order form at the Packet Roller website strikes me as more than a little intrusive. It demands a lot of personal information – ALL fields in the interactive form are marked with an ‘*’ (‘required’). So, it seems that Heinz is hoping both to sell a boatload of the devices AND haul in a treasure trove of fan info it can sell to other food sector companies.
Nobody really needs the Heinz Packet Roller. If they want help squeezing their sauce packets, they can get any number of existing toothpaste tube appliances. They might even have one or more in their medicine cabinets already.
On principle, I object to any company exhorting its fans to buy stuff that isn’t needed, and/or is over-priced. And I strongly object to companies using novelty promotions to milk their fans for personal information.
Can’t an organization like Kraft/Heinz come up with anything more creative and/or unique than the Packet Roller to snag consumers’ attention?
~ Maggie J.