Heinz Ketchup is preparing for a spicy new year with its 2013 limited-edition release of Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Real Jalapeño: "The classic ketchup recipe blended with real jalapeño peppers [sic] for a fun, spicy twist." It retails for $2.49.
The jalapeño-flavored condiment is set to hit shelves in January 2013, but as a teaser, Heinz's Facebook page sold a few bottles between November 26 and December 7, in what it called the "12 Days of Jalapeño Ketchup."
But why introduce heat to a traditionally cooling condiment? Has the popularity of sriracha-chile sauce inspired fear in the hearts of ketchup companies?
Heinz spokeswoman Tracey Parsons says it's simply to keep up with customer demand. "Hot and spicy foods have been gaining popularity, especially with many breakfast foods that people love to pair with Heinz Ketchup," Parsons says. "Consumers have told us they love spicy flavors, so we're thrilled to offer them another option from Heinz Ketchup as part of our limited edition flavor offerings. We're always looking at new possibilities and innovations and tested a variety of other spicy flavors, but found that jalapeno had the perfect blend of spicy flavor."
America's great love affair with hot sauce endures, which is evidenced by the thousand variations on the condiment -- so it's no wonder that Heinz has jumped on the bandwagon. However, let's not be remiss of Heinz's previous hot sauce endeavors: Heinz Hot & Spicy Ketchup, for example, which is flavored with Tabasco.
In a press release, Heinz senior brand manager Eric Dahmer notes, "[Heinz Jalapeño Ketchup] makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the friend or family member who likes to add a little kick to their meals."
Expect a Gut Check taste test in the very near future.