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The History of Heinz Ketchup

Henry J. Heinz was born to German immigrant parents and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of six, he began helping his mother in the garden and by age nine, he was making his own horseradish (using his mother’s recipe) and selling it to neighborhood customers. He created his first official company with a friend in 1869: Heinz Noble & Company. Their first product was, fittingly, horseradish. The business failed after the Panic of 1873, but Heinz established a new company called the F. &. J. Heinz Company with financial assistance from his brother and cousin. In 1876, the company began producing tomato ketchup along with several other products, including apple butter and pepper sauce. At this point, the company began to take off. In 1888, Heinz acquired controlling interest in the company and renamed it the H. J. Heinz Company. The iconic “57” was added to the bottle in 1896. Heinz saw a shoe store advertising 21 styles of shoes and was inspired. Notably, although he was selling over 60 products at the time, he felt the number 57 was lucky and so he decided to put it on the bottle. Today, Heinz is now a household name and the company sells over 650 million bottles of ketchup every year.

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