Ford/Heinz making tomato plastic




It sounds like a great idea, and I'm all for reducing the use of petroleum-based plastics. The downside is I know from experience that squirrels and chipmunks like to chew insulation and other soy-based parts of automobiles. I imagine this will only make that problem worse.

If I didn't know better I'd say it was a conspiracy on the part of auto repair places.


How about making the ketchup container out of tomatoes?


It would also have been a great example of local sourcing as well, if Heinz hadn't just closed the ketchup plant it ran 1 hour's drive from Ford HQ.


Great idea!


Because when you begin tampering with nature like that, bad things start to happen.
First they will start trying to make them as big as possible to increase plastic production, then they will make them stronger, then when you start using them to contain their dead brethren the rebellion begins...


Not even Heinz's first foray into the auto-related things. One of the coolest cars ever made, the Phantom Corsair, was the automotive love-child of one of the Heinz family.


The leftovers would be mostly composed of cellulose, right? And nitrocellulose and celluloid are already a thing - though somewhat unstable. Maybe they're doing something else with it these days, or maybe everything old is new again...


Maybe then they'll keep the Heinz factory open in Leamington, Ontario?
Cuz when that plant closes... it's gonna be a ghost town (it already kinda is) and what exactly is Leamington supposed to do with all the tomatoes after the plant closes? Is the bottom gonna drop out of the hothouse tomato market?

Real issues, sounds funny, but serious issues!


It's going to be used to can tomato juice now. There's some rule that says that to be sold as tomato juice in Canada, you have to make it from whole tomatoes rather than tomato paste. Not that that will be anywhere near the number of jobs or tomatoes that used to go through that plant. Nor does it supply me with the good Heinz ketchup made with liquid sugar.


Seriously though, have you been to Leamington? Its nothing but hot houses... what is going to happen to the tomato market? (and all the imported Mexican workers...?)

Also, if they're moving the plant to Kentucky will they be using HFC in the ketchup now instead of sugar?

And I guess this is why I hate American tomato juice! Innersting!


I haven't actually, though it's only a couple hours away. A lot of the farmers are basically fucked. They've got a bunch of equipment that's only used for tomatoes. Most interviews I've read have them switching to other crops of course. Most of the temporary foreign workers used for farm work around here seem to be from Thailand and Cambodia for some reason rather than Mexico.

That's my fear. Leamington is where they made the "organic" ketchup for the US market too. The best case scenario is they keep making ketchup for the Canadian market with liquid sugar. My guess is if they do that, they'll raise the price. Worst case scenario is they just start shipping American-style ketchup here. I'm probably going to have to start testing out other brands.


It's little things like this that make you realise what the internet has done for/to the world.
I deliberately made my reference to Leamington kinda vague, because people aren't going to be familiar with a little town in southern Canada, are they?

Nope. Internet.


Tomatoes are a high acid food, The pH can for canned tomatoes can be between 3.5-4.7. Tomato juice midranges that, and ketchup introduces vinegar as well. Generally speaking, bioplastics aren't as hardy as other plastics, and adding a high acid product into a bioplastic container would encourage leeching. Since people both keep ketchup for extended periods and may leave it in the heat, it's probably not a good item to store in bioplastic.

There are other foods, like puddings and jells, that have higher pHs and shorter shelf lives, and they make better prospects. There are definitely food uses for the product.


It's been in the news lately because of the election with the Conservatives trying to blame the Liberals for driving jobs out of the province. The real people to blame are Warren Buffet and that cheap Brazilian billionaire Jorge Lemann. They still own another food processing plant near me and the ridiculous and petty policies I've heard they've brought in to save money are just bullshit.

This actually strikes me as the kind of story they'd bring out to get some positive PR going. Now I'm wondering what negative story they're hoping to offset.


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