Remember the 1980s when we were introduced to Grey Poupon? My brother and I, in elementary school at the time, would affect snooty accents and ask, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” “But, of course.” Malcolm Gladwell, in his book What the Dog Saw, points out that until that time, French’s dominated the market, but by the end of the 1980s there were several different brands and varieties of mustard.

Little has changed in the world of ketchup, however, Gladwell noted. Heinz is the clear leader and there’s practically no variety. In fact, the only real change has been from glass to plastic bottles that young children – including even adolescents like my son who ketchups everything – can squeeze for themselves. Apparently there are ketchup tasting experts (my son should apply) who determined that Heinz ketchup is the perfect blend of the human taste palate. The story concludes by quoting a formerly budding ketchup pioneer, “I guess ketchup is ketchup.”

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