1 EAGLETON NOTES: Heinz 57 Varieties

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Heinz 57 Varieties

YP's  post yesterday was entitled Pictures.  It had absolutely nothing to do with Heinz Beans. However in the esoteric comments that followed he mentioned "Heinz 57 Varieties" and Kylie of Eclectica asked "57 varieties of what?"

It made me wonder. Having grown up with the brand of tinned and bottled foods Heinz 57 Varieties it occurred to me that our antipodean readers might not be aware of the significance of the reference. So I decided to enlighten you and myself at the same time.

I have always assumed that the original Heinz brand produced 57 varieties of tinned/bottled foods. I also assumed that it was a British company. I was wrong on both counts.

Heinz 57 is a shortened form of an 1896 advertising slogan "57 Varieties of Pickles" by the H. J. Heinz Company located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It has come to mean anything that is made from a large number of parts or origins. It was developed from the marketing campaign that told consumers about the numerous pickle products available from the Heinz company.

The reason for "57" is unclear. Heinz said he chose "5" because it was his lucky number and the number "7" was his wife's lucky number. However, Heinz also said the number "7" was selected specifically because of the "psychological influence of that figure and of its enduring significance to people of all ages". Whatever the reasons, Heinz wanted the company to advertise the greatest number of choices of pickles. In fact by 1892, four years before the slogan was created, the Heinz company was already selling more than 60 products.

In Britain I would think that Heinz is best known for its baked beans. I didn't know until I looked for some pictures for this post that Heinz Baked Beans had been  re-branded as Heinz Beanz. So the Heinz tin showing the 57 very clearly has been relegated to less prominent type.

For my antipodean readers Heinz is branded as Watties in New Zealand (where it is a very large company) and as Heinz Watties in Australia.

30 comments:

  1. I also was wondering what you meant by that number on YP's blog. Thank you for explaining it here. Very interesting.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I'm glad you found it interesting Maria.

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  2. Neat info
    I always figured there's 57 varieties of tbe product.

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  3. Mixed-breed dogs are often referred to as "Heinz 57" here in the US.

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    1. What fun Jill. As in 'Bitzer'.

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    2. Absolutely Jill and Kate: both are used here in the UK.

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  4. Same in England too every mongrel is a "heinz 57 variety" and that may very well be the case too :-)

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    1. Quite, Heron. I actually one knew a person who had a dog called 'Heinz' for that reason.

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  5. I always had a fondness for Heinz 57 because I was born in 1957! HA! Showing those two cans side by side, I wonder what committee thought the newer can was the better choice? Why doesn't anyone consult me about these things? "Full of BEANZ", oh give me a break! LOL!

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    1. Yes Kay, Heinz came up with the slogan 'Beanz meanz Heinz'.

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  6. I knew the reference to Heinz but was being a bit cheeky!
    Talking of Watties, we used to have Watties frozen vegies here but they disappeared sometime ago. I guess they were swallowed up in some kind of 57 company take over

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    1. Kylie, I wonder if the Watties plant in Christchurch is no longer. It used to do the frozen vegetables if I recall correctly.

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  7. I didn't know any of that, we have Heinz and Watties here in NZ - good to know.

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    1. Actually, Amy, I had quite forgotten that Heinz was on the NZ shelves as well as Watties.

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  8. When it comes to baked beans, it just has to be Heinz. After all, "Beanz Mean Heinz"!

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    1. Sorry, YP, I buy the cheaper brands very often because there is less salt and sugar (and, as it happens, often a higher percentage of beans).

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  9. Interesting story behind a simple label.

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  10. I can buy Heinz beans, but they are expensive. Instead I buy my supermarket own brand of Haricots blancs a la sauce Tomate. They are delicious, and I think slightly less sweet than Heinz's; they are also very cheap!

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    1. Thanks for that information Cro. I can't ever recall buying beans in France although I often used to bring back things that I couldn't get in the UK.

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  11. 'Heinz Meanz Beanz' reminds me of some peanut butter brand that used to have a cartoon peanut that said 'We're all nuts in here!' and then roll its eyes in stereotypical lunatic fashion.

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    1. Kate that paints a really amusing picture. I don't recall it at all.

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  12. We down this way Down Under are very familiar with Heinz 57 varietes...they're very well-known. We all grew up with them.

    Watties are available here in Aus, too, but I mostly, 99% of the time, buy Heinz when beanz meanz buzinezz!

    Quote Wikipedia...."Watties was founded in 1934 by Sir James Wattie. The company operated in New Zealand under the name of J. Wattie Canneries Limited (later J Wattie Foods Limited and its related companies). In 1980, Wattie Industries and Goodman Fielder purchased shares in each other’s companies that led to a merger in 1987 to create Goodman Fielder Wattie Ltd. In 1992 the Wattie’s group was bought from Goodman Fielder by American-based H. J. Heinz Company for $565 million.

    The company employs around 1,900 people, of which approximately 350 are temporary or casual. The company produces its own Wattie's products, some international brands of H. J. Heinz Company, as well as local products under brands like Craig's, Farex, Eta, Oak, Good Taste Company, Greenseas, Earth's Best, Complan, Chef and Champ.

    The company has three production centres in New Zealand. Two are located in Hastings, New Zealand, where the company was founded, and over 1,200 product lines are produced there.

    In Christchurch, on the South Island the company has its third production plant which focuses on producing frozen and dry vegetables.

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    1. Thanks for that Lee. In New Zealand I was more au fait with Watties than Heinz and as I've never really shopped for food in Australia I wasn't sure of availability there.

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  13. If I had stopped to think before I read the whole post (I did not, though), I'd probably have thought "ketchup". That's what I primarily associate with Heinz, although I'm not sure if I've ever bought any ketchup of that brand myself. (I don't use much ketchup. Nor do I eat much tinned food.)

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    1. Monica, I think that Heinz Ketchup is the benchmark for the product in the UK. It's not something I use very often.

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  14. As a child I was told that they did 57 varieties of tinned food. I like that much better than the idea of 57 varieties of pickles. Perhaps because I have a tendency to suffer from indigestion....

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    1. Jenny, like you, I thought it was 57 varieties of food and, like you, I like that idea much more than pickles. Mind you I do love pickles and, fortunately, do not suffer from indigestion.

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