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Friday, April 12, 2024

Why Disney World Executives Replaced the Ketchup Packets

Have you been to Walt Disney World lately and noticed something off? Well, there’s more than one thing off right now. That said, one change in particular you may have noticed is the ketchup packets at Disney’s restaurants.

Traditionally, Disney contracts with their food suppliers the delivery of tens of thousands of Heinz ketchup packets per month.

Topping Bar at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at Magic Kingdom Park. (©Mickey Views)

In April 2021, these Heinz ketchup packets were quietly replaced with the less-esteemed ‘Red Gold.’

Red Gold ketchup packets accompanying meal at Cosmic Ray’s in 2023. (©Mickey Views)

The taste of this ketchup is not much different, and Red Gold is by no means a bad brand. But why dump Heinz?

Given Disney CFO’s previous complaints of rising food costs at Walt Disney World, the explanation is rather obvious. Money.

The real question is, just how much money is Disney saving in costs by switching out Heinz packets for Red Gold? Get ready, because this shocked us.

Based on data from the commercial food supplier Webstrauntstore.com, Red Gold ketchup packets of the same count and size cost ALMOST HALF what the Heinz packets do.

Current rates on 1,000 pack 9 gram ketchup packets via Webstaurant Store.

As they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. This is one strategy Disney’s employed to fight inflation that looks to be paying off.

Brayden
Brayden
Brayden produces quality Disney news commentary videos at Mickey Views. He is also working on feature-quality documentary films at "Address Unknown."

7 COMMENTS

  1. Brayden…Love your reporting but you may be way off here as Disney does not pay what you or I or other small businesses may pay for condiments much less does Disney pay normal wholesale for their Coke products. There are bids that they do with companies. Look into these contracts and report back as I wish I paid as low as what many large companies pay for things 🙂

    • I hear ya! The assertion is not that Disney pays the listed 1,000 packet price. As stated, they buy tens of thousands of these things per month. That said, wholesale is wholesale, and even at Disney’s level of bulk there is clearly a substantial enough difference between the cost of Heinz and Red Gold for Disney to have bothered making the change. Food costs are a frequent complaint on the earnings calls, so Disney to some extent feels the inflation we do as their costs have skyrocketed. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the food contracts to give an exact cost savings percentage. The market rates suggests there’s a pretty massive difference, though.

  2. It was part of there statement that sounded like this: As far as food goes we will cut portion size and cost everywhere we can and this will be good for our guest’s waistline….

    Pay the same price and get the lidl ketchup instead of the real stuff, not good

  3. Red Gold is a great US made product from a veteran owned business. I go out of my way to purchase it for home use instead of Heinz.

  4. For some commenters (especially Robb) that do not understand what Brayden article meant. I will summarized that Disney is using a lesser known ketchup brand that is much cheaper than a well known ketchup brand that is more popular in usage in the USA and more expensive just to save money.

  5. Not that long ago I seem to remember WDW having the “Simply Heinz” or Heinz Natural or other upgraded (well, more expensive and more marketed) ketchup packets instead of the standard ones. So even a bigger difference to go to the Red Gold product from the standard Heinz product.

    That being said, Disney makes all sorts of deals with food suppliers where they pay for the food (in part or maybe in total) with in-park marketing. Thus we get signage and food descriptions touting Coca-Cola, Craisins, Chiquita products, Boursin, M&Ms and Dove chocolate, etc.

    https://progressivegrocer.com/chiquita-inks-multi-year-alliance-disney-resort

    It could be that Kraft Heinz ended their marketing agreement with WDW and thus WDW might be paying more for Red Gold (because they must pay wholesale rates) than they paid to Heinz (who might have bartered the ketchup for free, or super cheap, in return for the exposure at WDW).

    WDW could be losing out on inexpensive upgrades to products by not being able to convince suppliers to enter marketing agreements (where Disney gets the food cheap).

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