There are many things that are frustrating in this world, but that we simply deal with because, well, that’s how things are. You can’t fight the man and you want ketchup for your takeaway French fries, and so you use your teeth and get ketchup on your hands and open 85 of them so you can have as much as you need.

This man says no more, though – and look at all of these great reasons why!

CMV: The standard ketchup packet is the most infuriating and user unfriendly design in common use

Reasons

-Unrecyclable

-Difficult to open and distribute product without getting any on hands, clothing, table, steering wheel or other innocent bystander

-No easy place to put it after use without creating a further mess; have to wrap it up in a paper napkin or other protective wrap

-Alternative design, consisting of rigid plastic, bottle shaped shallow vessel with peel top, promising neat and open access for dipping, never released into the wild AFAIK.

-Never provided unless asked for, and even then, the “yes it’s in the bag” turns out to be false on too many occasions

-Bulk dispensers have been removed for duration of the COVID era

-AND FURTHER: without rolling it up, impossible to empty out completely.

An all-around miserable and unfriendly user experience.

Change my view!

Can anyone one Reddit change his mind? Let’s find out!

14. Just make it bigger, said the American.

I disagree with your reasons. The biggest reason it’s trash is becauee its not big enoguh.

None of those would be issues if it was at least 4 times bigger.

13. He didn’t solve ALL of the issues, but dang.

Unrecyclable

This is a problem. They really should get on that.

-Difficult to open and distribute product without getting any on hands, clothing, table, steering wheel or other innocent bystander

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had this issue. Make a small opening and squeeze through it. It’s really not that hard.

-No easy place to put it after use without creating a further mess; have to wrap it up in a paper napkin or other protective wrap

As long as you haven’t left some hanging out the side, you can just set them on the table. If you have, set that edge on the edge of your plate/bag/box/napkin/whatever.

-Alternative design, consisting of rigid plastic, bottle shaped shallow vessel with peel top, promising neat and open access for dipping, never released into the wild AFAIK.

These are nice for dipping, but they don’t work well for squirting. It’s much easier to use the packet to cover a burger or the like without also requiring the use of a knife.

-Never provided unless asked for, and even then, the “yes it’s in the bag” turns out to be false on too many occasions

This is a people problem, not a container problem. Also, at least prior to covid (I don’t know about now. I haven’t been to a restaurant in a while.) plenty of places just have a container of them and you can take what you want.

-Bulk dispensers have been removed for duration of the COVID era
This is a temporary issue.

-AND FURTHER: without rolling it up, impossible to empty out completely.
Not at all. Slide it between your fingers.

12. But there is this counter-point.

On the second point.

As soon as you get the tiniest amount of grease on your fingers you will never get into the packet.

11.  Just put on your thinking cap.

According to my grandpa, who was a very harsh man:

If you can’t figure out how to make a tough-to-use item convenient, then you aren’t thinking enough.

There’s a way to eat with ketchup packets. When you rip, you rip two or three at once, and you pinch all the ketchup away from a single corner near where the suggested rip sides are. Then, you just rip them together while holding the pinched edge closed tightly. And rip a single corner off, rather than the entire top off.

You’ll have 3 open ketchup packets, each with a convenient exit point.

Finally, when squeezing, you want to hold the ketchup packet upside down, fold it in half vertically, then squeeze like a tube vertically. It will get like 98% of all the ketchup in the packet without a single bit on your fingers unless you aren’t careful. And it takes seconds.

Ketchup packets ain’t the best, but if you are still messy with it, then it’s time to think with your hands.

10. Someone has read Captain Underpants.

Ketchup packets are extremely useful for placing under those toilet ring thingies people sit on, squirting ketchup when they sit.

Just my usage of them, it’s extremely easy to fold and place.

9. It’s all about the money.

There are TWO reasons why companies will not stop using them:

They are CHEAP
They are sanitary (no need to handle a central bottle)
In my country, we use ketchup packets only super rarely. We usually just have little recipients with a foil lid. Best of both worlds but a little bit more expensive to make (I think). And we have to pay for those! And they are not cheap!

So, ketchup packets are NOT infuriating. Why? You get them for free! You should actually thank the design for allowing this. If ketchup was distributed in reciclable larger containers, you would have to pay for it. Isn’t this the greatest convinence?

8. So maybe not the most frustrating.

Let me introduce you to the Soy Sauce packet, my friend. Impossible to open without an implement of some sort unless you do something that will require immediate dental work.

7. And we have a second.

Soy sauce packets are more infuriating and messy than ketchup packets.

Granted they are the same design but you can set an open ketchup packet down with little worry it will leak out. Soy sauce on the other hand goes everywhere so you have to be extra careful setting a open packet down.

Would you rather an 8 year old kid open and use a ketchup packet in your car’s backseat or a soy sauce packet?

6. That sounds like a brilliant alternative.

“Standard” packaging is a regional thing and it seems like your region isn’t well looked-after.

Alternative design never released into the wild AFAIK
It doesn’t get much wilder than Australia, where any living thing smaller than a shoebox is probably venemous enough to kill you.

You just bend it in half a little, which breaks the seal in the centre. Keep bending and sauce comes out in a manageable flow.

5. People have really thought a lot about this.

-Unrecyclable Most packaging which requires a barrier film or foil has reduced ability to be recycled. Chances are the formulation will change for the product when more recyclable packaging is produced which makes the product less sensitive to oxidation with a less capable barrier material.

-Not easy… Agreed, but you are judging the packet which was designed in the 60’s and has undergone many innovations, including some which fix your issues. If you retailer isn’t offering the best packaging take that up with them…

-Never provided unless asked for… This is a problem with retailers not the packaging. Also which do you want to conserve valuable resources or waste shit by throwing it in no matter the customers preferences?

-Bulk Dispensers are fricking sanitation nightmares which if you only knew you wouldn’t bother ever wishing they came back. Never underestimate the reduction in disease and bacterial related sickness or illness related to disposable and single use food products in public spaces. The energy costs of helping a sick person far outweighs the cost of cleaning up after our food waste.

-It was a great package for its time, it has been improved upon and those packages are available.

This is just a rant you have when confronted with a problem perceived but doesn’t exist when you dig a little deeper. i.e. Convenience isn’t always convenient enough, I agree totally on that point. I also don’t like packets.

P.S. I have designed packaging, and its my estimate that to update something like the Heinz packet over an entire industry may be a 100mil project. No joke the tooling and line changes required would mean a complete shift. Ironically they already did it and I guarantee most customers wouldn’t pay the price difference to have the improved product and it will be deemed a long term commercial flop.

4. A few more reasonable defenses.

-Unrecyclable

Are you aware it’s the reason many companies, like Heinz, are already gearing to replace it?

-Difficult to open and distribute product without getting any on hands, clothing, table, steering wheel or other innocent bystander

I feel you’re opening them wrong then. I’ve literally never had these issues. I make sure the condiment is near the bottom and then tear a corner off. It’s not relatively difficult…

-No easy place to put it after use without creating a further mess; have to wrap it up in a paper napkin or other protective wrap

What are you eating that you don’t have a place to set it down?? If I’m eating fast food for instance, I have plenty of things that came with the meal I can set it down on. And, typically I’ll lean it against an edge so the open portion is upright.

-Alternative design, consisting of rigid plastic, bottle shaped shallow vessel with peel top, promising neat and open access for dipping, never released into the wild AFAIK.

Half the restaurants I’ve been to use the bottle shaped ones.

-Never provided unless asked for, and even then, the “yes it’s in the bag” turns out to be false on too many occasions

-Bulk dispensers have been removed for duration of the COVID era
These aren’t the fault of ketchup packets…

3. A bit dramatic, but not wrong.

Bulk Dispensers

This is indeed a cross contamination nightmare, brought to awareness only in the past year. We should never go back, I am now convinced.

But these aluminum-plastic composites are the Devil’s spawn. They will be found in the geologic record, undecomposed, 100 million years hence by some uncomprehending alien paleontologist. A little Chernobyl in every packet.

2. Chick-Fil-A serves these up with their politics.

Heinz released the dip/squeeze packaging a decade ago. This might scratch your itch.

1. Unless you’re a toddler. Then ketchup is life.

Ok honestly, why are we still eating ketchup? There are way better sauces.

For everything that you eat ketchup with, there’s always a better option.

Fries? Ranch. Chicken? Ranch. Steak? BBQ sauce. Burgers? Why are you putting ketchup on your burgers. Pretty much anything mayo based is 10x better than ketchup. Ketchup is so lame.

I knew this one would be a fail.

I am surprised at the number of defenses, though.

Drop your own in the comments!