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Reinvented Heinz ketchup packets hitting stores

PITTSBURGH -- H.J. Heinz Co. is bringing its new ketchup packets to grocery stores and other retailers nationwide, the world's largest ketchup maker announced Monday.

The company recently redesigned the classic ketchup packet for restaurants after years of complaints from customers who said the traditional packet was too messy and held too little ketchup.

"If you open it up and you rip it too much, it explodes in your hand," one consumer griped to CBS News.

The new design, which Heinz calls "Dip & Squeeze" packets, holds three times as much ketchup as the traditional packet and has two options for condiment consumption. Ketchup eaters can either peel off the top to reveal a shallow cup for dipping their food or tear off the end for squeezing the sauce out.

The company has never sold ketchup packets in stores before, but says it decided to make the move after the overwhelmingly positive consumer response to the product in restaurants.

The packets are, Heinz says, "moving from the drive-thru to the shopping cart."

Heinz said that it has shipped more than 220 million "Dip & Squeeze" packages since March, when they first began appearing in restaurants. Chains such as Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen already use the packets, and the company said more are testing it.

At one Chick-fil-A eatery, customers told CBS News they liked the new packets.

"They're really easy to open," said one. "I like it because it's a really cool shape, and if you have nuggets or something, you could just peel back and dip it," said another.

These new packages represent the first redesign to the classic ketchup packet since it was created more than 40 years ago. Company leaders have joked before that the ketchup packet was created in 1968 and consumer complaints started in 1969.

"Consumer demand for this product has been tremendous, as there is a universal need for convenient, portable packaging," Noel Geoffroy, vice president of Heinz brands said in a statement.

The product is being sold in packs of 10 for a suggested retail price is $1.99 and retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Kroger and Safeway stores.

But, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller, for people who are loyal to the traditional ketchup packets, Heinz says it will continue to produce them, with no plans to phase them out.

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