I love ketchup. I put it on everything – burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, eggs – you name it. And soon, thanks to a partnership between ketchup giant Heinz and the Ford Motor Company, my car could be made from ketchup, too.
Heinz uses over 2 million tons of tomatoes annually in its ketchup-making process, but many parts of the tomato – stems, skins, and various tomato fibers – go unused. Researchers at both Ford and Heinz are studying the use of these by-products as environmentally friendly vehicle components. Ford suggests that dried skins, for example, could be used as wiring brackets.
“Although we are in the very early stages of research, and many questions remain, we are excited about the possibilities this could produce for both Heinz and Ford, and the advancement of sustainable 100% plant-based plastics,” said Vidhu Nagpal, associate director of packaging R&D for Heinz.
The idea of a car built with ketchup leftovers may sound a bit outlandish, but it’s actually nothing new for Ford. Currently, Ford vehicles contain a number of sustainable parts including soy foam cushions, rice hulls and even coconut-based composites.