Please pass the ketchup, only let’s try that other brand.
A couple of years ago we stuck our tongue out at the Heinz empire when they abandoned their ketchup plant in Leamington, Ontario. It had been there for a hundred years, and it provided good steady jobs at up to $25 an hour for more than 730 folks in the neighbourhood.Beyond that were the local farmers who grew those wonderful tomatoes.
Heinz shut it all down with a handful of keystrokes on a computer. Henceforth, their ketchup sold in Canada would be bottled in the U.S. or who knows where else in this faceless global economy.
Just when we might have said you can’t trust any big foreign company when it comes to food processing, along comes French’s, giving Leamington a much better future. Canadian investors bought the old ketchup plant and saved about 250 of the jobs. It didn’t look like ketchup would be part of the future, until French’s got on board.
They are best known for other condiments, especially mustard. But now they have leased the Leamington facility, and they’ve added ketchup to their product line. They still have to fight to get space on ketchup shelves, but social media is helping. The company let it be known that they only use Leamington tomatoes in the ketchup they sell in the true north strong and free.
A couple of powerful Facebook posts went viral, and French’s ketchup is rapidly becoming a very hot product. Ketchup is never going to be a health product, especially when it’s most often accompanied by high cholesterol treats like chips, but French’s is doing their best. Theirs does not contain high fructose corn syrup, the essential binding ingredient in most junk food in this world.
The take away from this little tale might be this. When a big multi-national behaves badly, look for the silver lining. You might just find it in aisle three.
I’m Roger Currie