What’s in a Name: Should Heinz Change the Name of “Salad Cream”?

Comparable to mayo in the US, Heinz Salad Cream has been a favorite of the UK for 104 years.

According to an article by Time, Kraft Heinz has recently announced that it will be changing the name of a beloved condiment in the UK from Salad Cream to Sandwich Cream. Ironically being a favorite on sandwiches, Salad Cream consists of vinegar, rapeseed oil, sugar, corn flour, mustard and egg yolk. Kraft Heinz decided to re-brand because a recent study showed only 14% of consumers of the condiment actually use it for salads. However, this recent decision was met with critical distaste, with some fans even threatening to protest Heinz.

Joel Hughes, spokesman for Heinz explained the decision in saying, “We are reviewing the brand’s name to reflect how the product is enjoyed by consumers every day, and with the majority usage currently with sandwiches, we can confirm that ‘Sandwich Cream’ is one of the names being considered. There are consumers now who haven’t grown up with the brand in the household and just don’t know about the iconic zingy flavor, or what to eat it with.”

But if it’s not broken, why fix it? The name dates back 104 years from today, giving it a lot of sentiment in the UK. Back in 1999, Heinz had even tried to remove the product from shelves and the company was met with such intense protest that Heinz had no choice but to return it to stores. So, is there another way to “re-brand” the product by keeping to tradition while also introducing it to new consumers? Perhaps so.

Mr. Kipling’s is not only popular for its variety of tasty treats but its original catch phrase, “Exceedingly Good Cakes.”

In a recent article by Forbes, writer Andrew Cave referred to the UK company Premier Foods and their popular baked goods brand Mr. Kipling’s. Several years ago, Cave interviewed Chief Executive of Premier Foods, Gavin Darby, on a variety of topics, including the brand’s famous slogan, “Exceedingly Good Cakes.” Rumors had been circulating that the company would remove the famous slogan in an effort to rebrand. Cave inquired about the motto, asking the “youngish CEO” if he was considering changing it. Darby simply replied, “It is possible,” later adding, “We’re going to have new packaging, new advertising.” This surprised Cave, given that the slogan had been a cardinal aspect to the UK’s culture since 1967. In some respect, this would be comparable to McDonald’s abandoning, “I’m lovin’ it” or Frosted Flakes ditching, “They’re G-r-r-r-eat!”. However, just because it was possible, didn’t mean Premier Foods saw it fit. The company released the ad campaign with the clever “new slogan,” “Mr. Kipling doesn’t do rumors, but he does make exceedingly good cakes.”

Perhaps Heinz has some takeaways from Premier Foods to consider. Why change when the brand is not only so strong, but has had an emotional and cultural connection with its consumers for such a long period of time? Perhaps Heinz needs to get a little more creative if it wishes to attract a new generation of consumers while remembering those who kept the product alive.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to think about:

  • What are some alternatives Heinz could consider in order to “re-brand” their product, Salad Cream?
  • What are some challenges marketing managers face when advertising for iconic or old brands?
  • How might a marketing manager gage the connection a product has with its consumers?