The latest developments in condiment packaging may surprise you.

By Tim Nelson
July 11, 2019
Glenroy

Since the dawn of time, ketchup bottles have been a real nuisance. First there was the glass ketchup bottle that could frustrate even bright minds like Andy Warhol. The squeezable plastic bottle addressed our impatience, but would often leave a mess or taunt us with inaccessible bits of ketchup well before the bottle was truly empty.

Now, the ketchup bottle as we know it has just been disrupted thanks to something called the Standcap Inverted Pouch. From the look of it, this soft pouch of condiment goodness has more in common with a tube of toothpaste than the ketchup bottles of old—and that’s a good thing.

Instead of existing as a mere squeezable vessel for ketchup, this upright, wedge-shaped container lets gravity do the work when it comes to dispensing. Additionally, this type of packaging limits how much air can comingle with the condiment, thus reducing the likelihood of spoilage over time. And because it can be rolled up like a tube of toothpaste, it’s much easier to coax that stubborn last bit of ketchup to come out than it would be with a more uncooperative bottle.

Credit for introducing consumers to the Standcap Inverted Pouch belongs to the sour cream brand Daisy, who observed a significant uptick in sales in the year following the 2015 switch to the Standcap. Other brands have caught on, and you can now squeeze out everything from yogurt to barbecue sauce should you so choose.

Beyond the improved ease of use, brands making the standcap switch tout another factor: sustainability. Compared to glass or even plastic bottles, an empty standcap pouch requires significantly less space to travel to where it will be filled, which allows for more energy-efficient distribution. The Washington Post suggests that the manufacture of the pouch itself requires less water than other alternatives as well. The pouch itself unfortunately can’t be recycled yet (though its cap can be), nut with communities increasingly abandoning glass recycling as inefficient and costly, other vessels for condiments don’t always present a superior option.

So if you’ve ever fought against and lost to a bottle of ketchup, or are tired of dipping utensils into condiments in order to spread them, help is on the way. Just don’t accidentally leave any of these tubes near your toothbrush.

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