The Real Reason Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup Disappeared

Colorful novelty products are undeniable hits with children. From fruity, neon-colored cereal, to candies with the inexplicable color of blue raspberry, kids love bright food products and corporations know this well.

This line of thinking likely contributed to the introduction of Heinz's EZ Squirt ketchups, which children from the early 2000s will remember well. In October 2000, the company introduced an artificially-colored ketchup that featured a nozzle like a bottle of glue, and allowed for the user to squirt the colorful concoction on foods (via Business Insider). Given the headache that often results from trying to scrape ketchup out of a glass bottle with a knife, this easy quirt solution was a hit with kids and parents for more than one reason. 

The first color that was rolled out was green, which was followed by blue, purple, and a mystery color (kids love mystery colors) which could be orange, teal, or purple.

EZ Squirt's short-lived success

Initially, the product was a huge success. The brand's marketing director reported that in the first three months, they sold the same amount of bottles they had expected to sell over the course of the entire year (via Mental Floss). From 2000 to 2003, the company sold over 25 million bottles of the condiment. However, like so many colorful fads, this one wore off as well, and the product was ultimately discontinued in 2006. As time has gone on, consumers have become more health conscious as well and a number of nations have begun to limit or ban the use of artificial food dyes (via Slate). While this may not have directly effected EZ Squirt, it was likely a factor in its waning popularity.

In 2012, Heinz teamed up with Burger King to introduce a limited release of green ketchup for Saint Patrick's day, but little noise has been made since about reviving the brand in any meaningful, long-term fashion.