Purple Ketchup

Purple Ketchup: An Unforgettable Experiment or A Bad Idea?

Ketchup is a condiment that we have all been familiar with since childhood. It is a quintessential part of American cuisine that, for many of us, we probably cannot imagine our meals without. However, ketchup has undergone a transformation in recent years, with different formulations, flavors, and colors hitting the market. One of the most notable of these is purple ketchup.

Purple ketchup, as its name suggests, is a variant of the traditional tomato-based ketchup, but it is made with a combination of tomato paste, high-fructose corn syrup, vinegar, and food coloring. It gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s when Heinz introduced it as a limited edition.

Purple ketchup has stirred up some controversy since its arrival in the market, and many wonder whether it is a novelty item or a flavorful option for ketchup lovers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at purple ketchup, examine whether it was a success, and answer some of the frequently asked questions about this peculiar condiment.

The Story Behind the Purple Ketchup

At the turn of the century, Heinz, the world’s largest producer of tomato ketchup, started producing and distributing the purple ketchup. The initial idea behind the product was to entice children to eat healthy by developing a ketchup that not only tasted great but also had an eye-catching hue. Heinz believed that by producing purple ketchup, kids would be more likely to consume the condiment and, in turn, eat healthier food items like vegetables.

The launch of purple ketchup sparked a frenzy among consumers, and it became apparent that the company had hit a marketing jackpot. Heinz soon released the purple ketchup in different colors, including green and blue, further solidifying the brand as an innovative and playful company.

Why Purple?

Purple was not selected at random, as bright purple is more appealing to children than other colors. Research suggests that children are more likely to consume brightly colored foods, particularly those with jarring, vibrant hues, such as blue and purple.

Some people argue that purple is an unpopular color because there is nearly no presence of purple-colored foods, particularly those found in nature. While grape juice and plum jelly are typically purple, it is not as common in ketchup, which is mainly tomato-based.

Was the Experiment a Success?

Heinz’s purple ketchup, while intended for children, became an overnight sensation with adults too, and sales skyrocketed. However, despite the wide acceptance and initial success, purple ketchup appears to be a thing of the past, and many people seem to have forgotten about it. So, was the experiment a success or a failure?

Generally speaking, I would say that purple ketchup was a successful novelty item that had a positive impact on Heinz’s marketing and branding, but not necessarily so in sales. It was translated into a variety of different colors that caught the attention of a broad audience, but it remains doubtful if the company’s efforts translated into higher revenue.

While many parents were pleased with the idea of children getting excited about eating healthy foods, the product was found to be no healthier than regular ketchup. Some even believed that food coloring might not be the ideal ingredient to accomplish the final goal. In fact, several nutrition experts cautioned that overindulging in artificial food colorings could lead to health issues such as hyperactivity in children.

So, while purple ketchup no longer remains a staple in our pantries, its impact never will be forgotten, rather cherished for its innovative approach to flavor and branding.

FAQs on Purple Ketchup

Q: What is the main difference between regular ketchup and purple ketchup?

A: The main difference between the two is the presence of artificial food coloring and slightly different flavor.

Q: Is purple ketchup unhealthier than regular ketchup?

A: No, both are fundamentally the same in terms of nutritional value, meaning both are likely not the healthiest condiment.

Q: Is the food dye in purple ketchup a cause for concern?

A: While the levels of dyes used in foods are stringent, some experts do caution that overconsumption of artificial dyes might result in health concerns.

Q: Is purple ketchup still available in the market?

A: Yes, still, purple ketchup is available in the market, but it is not as popular as original ketchup and other newer ketchup flavors.


Purple ketchup was a different approach to an age-old favorite condiment that took the market by storm. It was a playful take on ketchup, which led to its notoriety in the world of marketing and branding. Though the initial idea was cute and innovative, it did not gain widespread acceptance and has since fallen out of favor with consumers. While Heinz initially envisioned a healthier option for children, the added artificial colors concerned experts, and parents have shied away from using it on children’s food. As such, it is a rare commodity nowadays, with some people happily trying it and others writing it off. Whether purple ketchup is here to stay remains to be seen, but its impact on the world of condiments will undoubtedly not be forgotten.