Canadian Packaging

New Ford cars to have appeal and a-peel

Ford teams up with Heinz to create usable tomato auto parts.


June 16, 2014
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Tomah-to, tomay-to, fruit or vegetable—the humble tomato is one interesting product that people consume in various formats… but the folks at the Ford Motor Co. feel they can come up with an inventive way to to turn tomatoes into car parts.

No, you aren’t likely to see tomatoes used as rust-free automobile bodies or as windshield substitutes, but Ford says it has teamed up with the H.J. Heinz Co. (of Pittsburgh) to work on ways to use tomato fibers to manufacture composite materials for wiring brackets or storage bins.

In an effort to distance itself from an over-reliance on petroleum based plastics, the car company says that along with Heinz, it is also working with Nike Inc., P&G (Proctor & Gamble) and The Coca-Cola Company in an effort to create a 100 per cent plant-based plastic polymer that it can utilize to create a plethora of products from fabrics to packaging.

The collaboration between these companies, by the way, was actually created some two years ago with the stated goal of developing a 100 per cent plant-based PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic—such as what is used in retail beverage bottles.

For Heinz, it notes that the Ford Tomato vehicle , er, creating other uses with tomato fibers is an admirable idea, as it yearly has about two-million tones of waste tomato parts (peels, stems and seeds) left over after its Ketchup condiment production.

The tomato research is not unheard of at Ford, as it is currently working on other bio-based experiments, such as:

  • soy foam seat cushions and head restraints;
  • various coconut-based composites, and;
  • recycled cotton to fabricate carpets and seat fabrics.

Now we’ll see if any other automobile companies will try and ketchup with Ford.  Oh, the anticipation…