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September 21, 2023
Technology

Big sauce wants your condiment data

Big sauce wants your condiment data


As tech conglomerates and moneyed men call for AI dealers to pump their brakes, I believe another emergent technology, Heinz Remix, warrants close examination.

At first, Heinz Remix simply appears to be a mix-n-match soda dispenser — for sauce. Yet, a great deal more is going on beneath the surface. This is about responsibility, in sauces.

Kraft Heinz said yesterday that the machine will offer folks the “power to personalize their sauces like never before.” It follows a two-step process — select a base (for now, ketchup, ranch, 57 steak sauce, and BBQ), plus one or more “enhancers” (for now, jalapeño, smoky chipotle, buffalo, and mango). The enhancers can each be customized via three “intensity levels” (low, medium and high), said Kraft Heinz in a statement.

Chipotle ketchup is well-trodden territory, yet Heinz claims its touch-screen dispenser will deliver “200 potential sauce combinations” when it debuts at Chicago’s 2023 National Restaurant Association Show, among them the horrific (mango ranch) and the redundant (chipotle steak sauce). Yet, what’s actually concerning here (aside from the potential for a sauce “graveyard“) is what Heinz plans to do after dippers dip. To put it lightly, “it’s more than a sauce dispenser,” said Alan Kleinerman, the vice president of Disruption at Kraft Heinz.

“It’s an insights engine and business model enabler,” the executive clarified in a statement. According to Kleinerman, the machine will enable the $47.75 billion sauce giant to “understand and respond to consumer trends and flavor preferences in real-time.” (Emphasis TechCrunch’s.)

“Who knows,” Kleinerman added, “maybe our next new sauce combination will come from a superfan using HEINZ REMIX!”

In other words, while we’re not sure what sauces will come from the Heinz Remix, one thing is already certain: When Heinz pilots the tech with restaurants later this year, the company will be doing some dipping of its own — collecting morsels of sauce data from unsuspecting guests. Leaving us with a crucial question unanswered: Who sauces the saucier?


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