Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ethanol and what it means to your ketchup

One of the benefits of actually having an office to go to rather than always working from home is that you get to overhear things. Now, I don't read the Wall Street Journal reguarly, but thanks to my cube neighbor at my current freelance job, I now know about an interesting chain of events linking alternative fuels to the stuff you dip your french fries into. (How dare you if mayo came to mind! Cultural obsession or not, that's just gross...) Since the WSJ isn't free, here's an article on the same topic from the San Francisco Chronicle: Heinz hopes sweeter ketchup tomatoes reduce need for corn syrup.

You can read the article yourself for all the juicy details on the economics of the corn syrup price bump. But to me the interesting thing is that the company is busy trying to create a new sweeter tomato variety.

Now, personal preferences aside, Heinz is considered by many—famous chefs included—to be the gold standard to which all other ketchups must be judged against. I wonder what might happen to the taste, texture or general quality of the ketchup once the new tomatoes are swapped in for some of the corn syrup. Will it be a noticeable difference in the same way that Mexican Coke tastes different from the Coke you and I buy in office vending machines?

Time will tell, but it's certainly amazing how something like alternative automobile fuels have a trickle down effect on our food supply. It's like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon only he has the day off and corn is standing in his stead....

1 comment:

Brendabee said...

Jamie, there is in fact a growing group of green consumers, using the old grease from french fries at fast food establishments, to fuel their car, which has been converted to burn it. Sounds like "Back To The Future", the flux engine, to me.