Over the past few years, food giant Heinz has mined the grassroots of condiment fandom to develop new products for the masses. In 2018, it conducted an online poll to ask American consumers if they’d like a premixed version of mayonnaise and ketchup. After the answer was resoundingly in favor, Heinz Mayochup sauce was born. Since then, the brand has added Kranch, Honeyracha, and Buffaranch sauces to grocery store shelves.
Now Heinz is introducing an entirely new product, Dip & Crunch—this one based on the trend of dipping burgers into various sauce-and-chip combinations popularized among TikTok users. It’s a two-in-one package, with one side for sauce, the other for potato chip crumbs for dipping. The chip crumbs (which Heinz calls “crunchers”) add a new tasty texture to your burger. The combo also comes in a spicy option.
Burger dipping is, of course, nothing new, but it’s perhaps never been formalized like this before. The company tested the concept earlier this year in select West Coast Jack in the Box locations, and has now moved to take it national and into your homes just in time for barbecue season. For Kraft Heinz North America’s chief growth officer, Sanjiv Gajiwala, it represents a major step forward in the brand’s progression to innovate in a way that not only reacts to culture but also anticipates it.
“We spent a lot of time listening,” Gajiwala says. “For us to hear that debate online, then bring it to life, is an example of how we’re listening differently, how consumer taste is evolving, and how that listening is helping us react . . . [to be] ready for when people are ready to experience these things.”
It’s also a direct evolution of the approach that led to Mayochup and its other hybrid sauces, which saw sales up 9% since 2020. Last year, Kraft Heinz announced a partnership with Google to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to quickly get real-time insights from data to more efficiently drive food innovations such as new flavors, formulations, and products.
“We’ve then taken that and built our own proprietary data platform focused on food, which we call Kraft-O-Matic,” Gajiwala says.
The company aims to use these timely insights—and its own ability to move quickly on product development and distribution—for a two-speed approach when it comes to tapping into consumer trends and culture. The first is short-term fads that can temporarily boost enthusiasm among superfans, and maybe cash in on some earned media. This is clear in how it jumped into the food-fad news cycle with things like pumpkin spice-flavored Kraft macaroni and cheese, or its mac and cheese ice cream last year, or Oscar Mayer’s brief dalliance in the beauty realm with its Bologna Face Mask in January.
The second speed involves longer-term trends that lead to new products made widely available across the company’s vast distribution network.
“As we innovate, we have to make sure we understand the difference between a trend and a fad,” Gajiwala says. “There are moments for both, and for us, the innovation around Dip & Crunch is part of a trend. It’s something people will want for some time, so we want to innovate with our brands like Heinz in those spaces.”