August 29, 2011

There really were 57 varieties of Heinz products!

Day 241 of Vintage 365


As someone with a melting pot of origins comprising my ancestry, one of my favourite ways for years now to describe my genealogical background is to say that I'm a "Heinz 57 of European nationalities".

Of the I've been able to conclusively determine through my genealogical research there's British, French (and French Canadian), German, Russian, Prussian, Polish, and (wayyyyy back) Danish. I don’t for a second that others are whirling around in the mix, too.

Many of us have similar backgrounds, made up of ancestors who hailed from various corners of the world, so it comes as to surprise that when I use this term, others have been quick to eagerly adopt it for their own use. I don't mind in the least, and encourage you to do the same, if you'd like.

The term "Heinz 57", which appears on many Heinz products to this day, is often used to describe a diverse and/or large group of varying items. For example, you could say, "The buffet at Sally's party was a real Heinz 57 of dishes", or, "My wardrobe is so eclectic, it's a Heinz 57 of styles", and folks would instantly understand that you were describing a mixed bag of items, people, situations or what have you.

The origins of this expression lie in a slogan that the famous food manufacturing company used in it early days: "Heinz 57 Varieties of Pure Food Products".

Company legend has it that "57" was chosen because the numbers five and seven were of particular significance to Henry John Heinz, founder of the brand. While the company was actually manufacturing more than 60 different products at the time, Heinz like the ring that 57 had to it and opted to use that number as part of his company’s marketing campaign and branding.

{Vintage Heinz 57 advertising publication, from 1909, via Wikipedia.}


Heinz products have been on shelves for over a hundred years now and their logo is one of the most recognizable in the world. As such, I started wondering one day, just what were some of the products that made up the yesteryear list of 57 Heinz varieties?

If we hop back in time to the 1930s, the following is a list of 57 products that Heinz produced. Many are long gone (despite the more than 5,7000 items the company now produces worldwide), but other classics - like pork and beans, dill pickles, cider vinegar, chilli sauce, and ketchup are still going strong.


57 Heinz products from the 1930s


1. Heinz Oven-Baked Beans with Pork and Tomato Sauce

2. Heinz Oven-Baked Beans without Tomato Sauce, with Pork--Boston Style

3. Heinz Oven-baked Beans in Tomato Sauce without Meat—Vegetarian

4. Heinz Oven-Baked Red Kidney Beans

5. Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup

6. Heinz Cream of Green Pea Soup

7. Heinz Cream of Celery Soup

8. Heinz Mince Meat

9. Heinz Plum Pudding

10. Heinz Fig Pudding

11. Heinz Peanut Butter

12. Missing from list

13. Heinz Cooked Sour Kraut with Pork

14. Heinz Cherry Preserves

15. Heinz Red Raspberry Preserves

16. Heinz Peach Preserves

17. Heinz Strawberry Preserves

18. Heinz Pineapple Preserves

19. Heinz Crab-apple Jelly

20. Heinz Currant Jelly

21. Heinz Grape Jelly

22. Heinz Quince Jelly

23. Heinz Apple Butter

24. Heinz Preserved Sweet Gherkins

25. Heinz Preserved Sweet Mixed Pickles

26. Heinz Sour Spiced Gherkins

27. Heinz Sour Mixed Pickles

28. Heinz Chow Chow Pickle

29. Heinz Sweet Mustard Pickle

30. Heinz Dill Pickles

31. Heinz Fresh Cucumber Pickle

32. Heinz Fresh Cucumber Relish

33. Heinz India Relish 34. Heinz Sandwich Relish

35. Heinz Soup Pickled Onions

36. Heinz Preserved Sweet Onions

37. Heinz Spanish Queen Olives

38. Heinz Stuffed Spanish Olives

39. Heinz Ripe Olives

40. Heinz Pure Spanish Olive Oil

41. Heinz Tomato Ketchup

42. Heinz Chili Sauce

43. Heinz Beefsteak Sauce

44. Heinz Pepper Sauce, Red and Green

45. Heinz Worcestershire Sauce

46. Heinz Prepared Mustard

47. Heinz Prepared Mustard Sauce

48. Heinz Evaporated Horseradish

49. Heinz Salad Cream

50. Heinz Mayonnaise Salad Dressing

51. Heinz Pure Malt Vinegar 52. Heinz Pure Cider Vinegar

53. Heinz Distilled White Vinegar 54. Heinz Tarragon Vinegar

55. Heinz Rice Flakes

56. Heinz Breakfast Wheat

57. Heinz Tomato Juice"

(Take from from the Heinz Book of Salads, 1930. Online version of list from the Food Timeline.)


The etymology of words and phrases has always fascinated me. I love finding out where folklore ends and the truth begins (or vice versa!). It's lovely to know that Heinz really did have 57 products to back up their slogan back in the early decades of the twenty-first century - and can't help but wish they still manufactured a few of these (how delicious do Quince Jelly and Pineapple Preserves sound?).

Whether you consider yourself a Heinz 57 of different nationalities, are a "purebred pup" like my 100% Italian husband, or fall somewhere in between, chances are you've heard of the expression "Heinz 57" before.

Now, as  beloved radio broadcaster Paul Harvey would have said, you know the rest of the story behind this classic expression and the brand that spawned its usage.

I, for one, am off to go find some quince jelly! Smile

1 comment:

  1. I think there actually IS a heinz 57 sauce, too, which is comprised of all these sauces? That was where I thought the "heinz 57" came from...a little of everything! Really interesting info here!