Nearly 15 years ago, Coca-Cola starting letting soda fans mix their own flavors with its Freestyle fountains. Now, Kraft Heinz wants to do the same for dipping sauces.
Sauce “bases” include Ketchup, Ranch, 57 Sauce and BBQ Sauce. Customers can pick one (yes, just one) and mix it with flavor “enhancers,” including jalapeño, smoky chipotle, buffalo and mango (here, you can pick more than one). Those extra flavors can each be added at “low,” “medium” or “high” intensities.
A prototype of the dispenser, called the Heinz Remix, was announced on Wednesday and will be showcased at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this weekend. Kraft Heinz
(KHC) plans to start running pilot programs with the product in restaurants from late 2023 into early next year. The company worked with Microsoft and others to bring the machine to life.
The base options could change over time, a relief for those already worried about the lack of mayo.
“These bases and enhancers will continue to evolve,” Diana Frost, chief growth officer of North America at Kraft Heinz, told CNN. “As we continue to ramp up and see the scaled opportunities, we’re going to continue to take the cues from consumers.” Customers may also be able to mix bases eventually.
Kraft Heinz is going all-in on innovation as it tries to enter a phase of growth after years of working to turn the business around. To stabilize the company, it focused on spotlighting its best-known brands like Kraft Mac & Cheese and Velveeta. Now, it’s thinking bigger — or at least, saucier.
“Innovation will be our single single biggest driver of growth,” said Frost. Through 2027, Kraft Heinz has a goal of an additional $2 billion in North American retail revenue from innovation.
The idea is for Remix to be in food service providers like restaurants, cafeterias and stadiums, not on grocery shelves. But food service is also a key part of the growth plan. And the company is planning to use the choices customers make to help inform its product decisions in retail.
The company’s away-from-home division, which includes restaurants, is “a great tip of the spear,” Frost said. “A lot of insights come first in away-from-home.”
Seeing which flavors, from sweet to smokey to spicy, appeal to consumers is particularly important, noted Frost. “We’re really excited to put consumers in control of that and what we can learn from it.”
Lately, Kraft Heinz is all about letting customers mix and match. Earlier this month, the company announced a new line of frozen meals: Five mains, five starchy sides and five veggies, which can be baked in the oven at the same time for an assortment of lunches or dinners.