If your keen on marketing minutia, then you can’t get much better than The Ketchup Conundrum over at Malcolm Gladwell‘s web page. In it, you can see first hand how providing diverse products within a food type (the article provides mustard and spaghetti sauce as examples), the market for the products would increase…except if your talking about ketchup.
Think about beer. 30 years ago, there were 6 major breweries, and they all sold the same type of beer…pilsner. Then the Micro-brewery revolution introduced several different varieties of beer, from ales and porters, to bocks and yes even more pilsners, and the beer market took off. You find this happening now with colas…vanilla colas, diet colas, lime coke, cherry coke, etc. Howard Moskowitz calls this the plural nature of perfection.
Who’s Howard Moskowitz? Well he’s the one who convinced the American food industry that there are no universals. Not in ethics, not in truths and certainly not in taste aesthetics in food.
Except for ketchup.
Read the article.. it’s a delightfully heady read.