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The Associated Press September 19, 2011, 5:17PM ET

Heinz ketchup packet redesign squirts into stores

H.J. Heinz Co. is bringing its new ketchup packets to grocery stores and other retailers nationwide, the world's largest ketchup maker announced Monday.

The company recently redesigned the classic ketchup packet for restaurants after years of complaints from customers who said the traditional packet was too messy and held too little ketchup.

The new design, which Heinz calls "Dip & Squeeze" packets, hold three times the ketchup of a traditional packet and have two options for condiment consumption. Ketchup eaters can either peel off the top to reveal a shallow cup for dipping their food or tear off the end for squeezing the sauce out.

The company has never sold ketchup packets in stores before, but said that it decided to make the move after the overwhelmingly positive consumer response to the product in restaurants.

Heinz said that it has shipped more than 220 million "Dip & Squeeze" packages since March, when they first began appearing in restaurants. Chains such as Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen already use the packets, and the company said more are testing it.

These new packages represent the first redesign to the classic ketchup packet since it was created more than 40 years ago. Company leaders have joked before that the ketchup packet was created in 1968 and consumer complaints started in 1969.

"Consumer demand for this product has been tremendous, as there is a universal need for convenient, portable packaging," Noel Geoffroy, vice president of Heinz brands said in a statement.

The product is being sold in packs of 10 for a suggested retail price is $1.99 and retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Kroger and Safeway stores.

Shares of Heinz, based in Pittsburgh, fell 40 cents to close at $51.12.

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