There’s a new contender in the “ketchup wars.”
Primo, known primarily for its pasta sauces, has launched an all-Canadian ketchup.
The brand, owned by Ruthen, Ont.-based Sun-Brite Foods, is touting the ketchup as being 100% truly Canadian. The tomatoes are sourced from Leamington, Ont., the ketchup is produced and packed at Sun-Brite’s plant in nearby Ruthven, and the company is entirely Canadian owned.
The launch comes on the heels of a patriotic frenzy over French’s ketchup, which is made with Leamington tomatoes.
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After a consumer’s social media post about buying French’s ketchup went viral, many Canadians vowed to buy French’s over Heinz, which closed its Leamington plant in 2014. (French’s is produced in Ohio, but the company said it’s looking to move operations to Canada.)
Primo has been available in restaurants in test markets for about a year, but the company expedited its plans to get into retail when the so-called “ketchup wars” hit the media in March.
“With the support that was shown behind the French’s brand because of the product using Canadian tomatoes from the Leamington area, ‘we thought we actually have Canadian everything… Let’s move forward and get it out there,’ ” says John Porco, chief operating officer at Primo Foods.
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The label on Primo ketchup proudly boasts that its “100% grown and packed by Canadians.”
“We know at this point, no one can really make that claim,” says Porco.
On the marketing front, Porco says the product will be promoted mainly with sampling and in-store marketing.
A one-litre Primo ketchup bottle retails for $2.99.