Preserving the Environment

From a Tomato to a Taurus: Ford and Heinz’s New Partnership

June 19, 2014
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From a Tomato to a Taurus: Ford and Heinz’s New Partnership
David Silverman/Getty Images
Car parts could soon be made from ketchup. (This doesn't mean you can dip your French fries in the cup holders.)

This summer, millions of Americans will eat ketchup on hot dogs and hamburgers, and soon enough they’ll also travel in it. Sounds impossible, right? Maybe even a little gross?

Not to the people at Heinz and Ford.

Heinz uses over two million tons of tomatoes annually, according to CNET, leaving behind stems, seeds, and skin. To find a way to use this byproduct, the food company and the automaker have partnered to find ways to turn it into material used for wiring brackets, interior compartments, and other car parts.

Part of a larger effort to make an entirely plant-based plastic, the tomato car parts are just part of a much larger research project between Ford and Coca-Cola, Nike, and Proctor and Gamble, according to Fox Business. Through it, Ford hopes to be able to cut down on petrochemical use, instead using more renewable sources for vehicle components. The automaker already uses recycled cotton for seat cushioning, as well as rice hulls to make internal pieces, says PSFK. Cup holders constructed of tomato parts would just continue the America auto company’s strong sustainability efforts.

Now don’t go thinking that cars made with tomatoes are going to smell like marinara sauce. Because Heinz’s leftovers will be transformed into a plastic-like material, you luckily won’t have to see, smell, or feel that you’re riding in a car constructed of tomato parts.

The two companies have even come up with a new, clever catchphrase for this innovation: “You Say Tomato; We Say Tom-Auto.”

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