Mega-packet of ketchup a record buster

Giant ketchup packet for fundraiser holds 127 gallons of the red stuff.

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It wasn't enough that Collinsville, IL, the self-proclaimed horseradish capital of the world, is also home to the world's largest (170-ft tall) ketchup bottle. On July 28, the city added the new title as home to the world's largest ketchup packet. The packet would also claim the broader title of world's largest condiment packet.

The event, which drew attention from CNN and other media, served as a fundraiser for the local Son Life Church.

Filled with ketchup donated by Heinz, the mega-packet stands 8 ft tall and 4 ft wide, making it proportionally 32-times larger than Heinz's normal foodservice packet. It also carries proportionally sized graphics.

The question isn't if it is the world's largest ketchup packet, but if Guinness will recognize it as such.

Event co-sponsor (along with Heinz) Clear Lam Packaging (www.clearlam.com) manufactured the specialty films and provided the premade pouch.

It is standard procedure for Packaging World to provide package specifications where we can, and the mega-packet is no different, courtesy of Clear Lam's marketing and sales manager Eric Pacyniak, who attended the record-breaking event: The 7-mil multilayer structure features 3-in.-wide seals (also proportional).

For a $1 donation at the fundraiser, people could pour a bottle of ketchup into a trough. Later, some 1,100 lb of ketchup were filled into the packet through a 6-in. opening via a 2-in. hose, according to Pacyniak before the packet was sealed.

It's filled, but now what?

Now comes the knotty question of what to do with a 1,100 lb packet of ketchup?

It seems to me there was a missed opportunity not pulling McDonald's into the event to sponsor the world's largest French fry pack, a true "super-mega-size me" accompaniment to all that ketchup.

However, a related Web site (www.worldslargestcatsuppacket.com) is soliciting votes to answer that pressing question. Suggestions include having a monster truck run over it or seeing if the David Letterman show would drop it off a roof. At press time, the latter appeared a landslide winner. If done, that may create the world's messiest drop test, adding further to the packet's accolades.

Until that's decided, the packet's high-barrier structure should provide plenty of shelf life, according to Pacyniak.

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