Crowning Consumer Favourites: Heinz Innovations That are Truly the Beanz Knees

It’s beanz a bustling year at Kraft Heinz Innovation headquarters, with countless new products flooding UK shelves—from Barbie pink condiments to Godfather-inspired pasta sauce. In 2023 alone, the company invested an estimated $140 million into research and development, an astonishing figure that certainly explains the constant stream of condiments, sauces, and canned goods saturating social media feeds. The Heinz team is churning out innovations so rapidly that even before I spot the fine print, I have a sneaky suspicion that this latest product “Has to Be Heinz.” 

With the launch of the “It Has to Be Heinz” platform last year, which celebrates creative ketchup concoctions and the unwavering loyalty of Heinz fans, we thought it would be a good idea to put consumer affection to the test. So, we did. 

To Beanz or not to Beanz…

From ketchup on pasta to baked beanz in a jacket potato, there’s no doubt that Heinz classics reign supreme in modern British culture. But how do audiences feel when their favourite products get a makeover? With brand collaborations, new flavours, and revamped packaging, the Heinz team has tried it all. At System1, we set out to discover which new product developments would truly stand out in the market. 

Harnessing the predictive power of emotion, we tested all the past year’s Heinz innovations to crown the top three on our Test Your Innovation platform. This platform integrates three core measures to generate an overall Star Rating, validated against in-market performance. These measures are: 

  • Emotional Pull: How does the idea make people feel? The happier people feel, the greater the commercial success of a product. Test Your Innovation captures both the emotions people feel and their intensity, along with Reasons for Emotion, or verbatims, that help brands improve ideas. 
  • Share Trading: Which product will attract the most investment? We ask people whether they would buy or sell shares in your innovations to accurately predict commercial potential. 
  • Speed of Trading: How quickly will people decide whether to buy or sell? Fast decision-making indicates that an idea is easy to understand and more likely to be chosen. 

With these insights, we found which Heinz innovations had the strongest emotional appeal and market potential.  

 1. Ketchup on Pasta: Not as Divisive as You’d Think!

Yes, you heard it here first: ketchup on pasta is incredibly popular. Despite my own reservations on the matter, it seems I may indeed be in the minority. A nationally representative audience of UK consumers has shown strong support for Heinz Ketchup pasta sauce—an age-old pairing that Heinz aptly describes as ‘ridiculously right, ridiculously good’.

Despite the long-standing presence of ketchup pasta enthusiasts —those who would generously squirt it over their penne in the school canteen or use it as a dip for their spinach and ricotta ravioli—Heinz surprisingly lagged in joining the hype. It wasn’t until 2023 that they finally launched Heinz Ketchup Pasta Sauce.

However, this delayed response doesn’t seem to have hindered the potential market success of the product. In fact, it emerged as the strongest innovation, achieving an impressive 4.3 Star Rating. Consumers embraced the idea, praising its “sweet taste” and expressing their fondness for a beloved classic: ketchup!

How much would consumers pay? £2.25 matches shelf price 

 2. Beanz and Richmond Pork Sausages: Brits Go Whole Hog!

“Bangers and Beanz” emerges as another strong contender in the Heinz innovation race, securing second place with an impressive Star Rating of 4.0. Although Heinz is originally an American brand, Brits have embraced the humble baked bean since its introduction at Fortnum & Mason in 1886, and the rest is history. It’s only fitting that such a staple of British cuisine should be paired with another classic from 1880s London: Richmond Sausages. 

Respondents praised the addition of “high-quality” sausages, which were perceived as nothing less than a “perfect match”—a beautiful marriage we’ve all beanz waiting for! This pairing even garnered the highest levels of agreement for the brand attribute ‘fits well with the brand’, a testament to the strength of this partnership and its inevitable success on the shelf. 

How much would consumers pay? £1.75matches shelf price. 

 3. The Perfect Condiment for a Bacon Butty? Bacon Ketchup Of Course! 

When I saw that Heinz was serving breakfast at Boardmasters this year, marked by their Heinz blue ‘rise and Heinz’ thermo bags on Instagram, the iconic bacon butty immediately sprang to mind. Bacon and ketchup is a partnership we’re all familiar with—from bacon cheeseburgers to the full English breakfast—but bacon-flavoured ketchup? Well, that takes the game to a whole new level. 

Stealing third spot on the innovation podium is Smokey Bacon Ketchup, which achieved a solid 3.9 Star Rating. Respondents eagerly described various ways to incorporate this ketchup variation into their pasta dishes, including a smokey bacon ketchup “spaghetti carbonara.” It’s a good thing we didn’t test this in the Italian market—yikes! 

How much would consumers pay? £2.25below shelf price of £2.90 

Why Do These Innovations Stand Out from the Rest?

You may have already guessed why these innovations were such a hit among consumers—they all have a sense of familiarity. It’s no coincidence that Heinz collaborated with a sausage brand, enhancing an already popular sausage-based product, or created a ketchup variety that combined two flavours consumers already know and love. They’ve mastered the art of what System1’s John Kearon describes as the 80:20 rule in his book System1: Unlocking Profitable Growth: each of these products is 80% familiar and 20% new.  

When we examine the emotions elicited by each of the top-performing products, a clear trend emerges—a skew towards happiness rather than surprise. The average percentage of happiness across each product is 44%, while surprise averages 11%, aligning perfectly with the 80% familiarity (happiness) and 20% novelty (surprise) model.  

Create with Confidence 

With a database of over 54,000 innovations to benchmark against, Test Your Innovation empowers brands to Create with Confidence and launch new innovations. So, which idea will be your next star? Use Test Your Innovation to predict your winner from an early stage and finetune it throughout the innovation process. We can’t wait to help you bring it to market!