The Pittsburgh-based food giant H.J. Heinz Company yesterday [Tuesday] officially launched Ketchup KICK'RS(TM), a line of flavored ketchup designed to feed adults' passion for bolder flavors and more excitement at mealtime.

The company says that Ketchup KICK'RS, which is available in three varieties, Zesty Garlic, Hot & Spicy and Smokey Mesquite, "give ordinary meals an extra kick of flavour".

Brian Hansberry, VP of Marketing, Ketchup, Condiments & Sauces, Heinz North America, commented: "Our research indicated that adults have an unmet need for flavor and variety in everyday foods, and we responded.

"The Ketchup KICK'RS flavors are based on the familiar flavor of Heinz Ketchup but, at the same time, appeal to today's consumers' insatiable appetite for the unexpected.

He continued: "With the introduction of Ketchup KICK'RS to our family of products, there's ketchup to excite everyone in the family meal after meal. First, we gave kids colorful ketchup. Now, adults can satisfy their desire for more adventure at mealtime, too."

The product is packaged in an easy-grip bottle and each 19-ounce bottle will have a suggested retail price of US$1.99.

Ketchup KICK'RS will be on supermarket shelves nationally beginning in February, backed up by TV and print advertising scheduled for May through August. Two national free-standing inserts (FSIs) with coupons are scheduled for the same time period. Peelable coupons for Ketchup KICK'RS will be on regular ketchup bottles. Other in-store marketing elements will also help build consumer awareness and encourage trial.

The Ketchup KICK'RS product is the latest example of Heinz' innovation in the Ketchup category. During the past few years, Heinz has introduced Blastin' Green and Funky Purple EZ Squirt for kids and placed a "trap cap" on all Heinz Ketchup bottles to keep the watery stuff in the bottle. The company also introduced humorous talking labels such as, "Are your French fries lonely?" Since 1998, Heinz has grown its share of the category from 45% to almost 60%.