By Emily Mullen
The company’s latest product launch makes us question whether Heinz truly mean beans
Clearly threatened by their shifting standing on the condiment shelf, Heinz has decided to up their game by producing one of the most odious-looking sauces since salad cream. Enter Shamrock Mayo, a mayonnaise flavored with something your mother would tell you not to eat, shamrocks. But listen there must have been testing done somewhere along the line, so maybe you can eat shamrocks? You would hope that there’s some other flavor other than shamrocks in the jar, but it seems that the Heinz social media team doesn’t even really know. They took to Instagram, to ask their followers what they thought it might taste of (which is a bit concerning). The answer that they deemed to be the best (“great shout”) was that the sauce tasted like “peppery watercress with a lemony zing”. Granted this is speculation by a social media team promoting the product and by people who haven’t tried it.
Anyway, the shamrocks which you maybe shouldn’t eat and taste like zingy peppers or something along those lines, are sourced from probably the furthest flung part of Ireland. The shamrocks are grown in the fields of Ballinaskelligs, Co. Kerry. Even to Irish people, this place sounds mystical. Especially when shamrock-grower James O’Leary described his land as “one of the greenest places in the southwest of Ireland”, where locals still speak Irish. He’s also showed his green credentials by letting slip that he supplies the Taoiseach with the iconic bowl of shamrocks that is given to the US president each Patrick’s Day. It just doesn’t get much more Irish than that.
Sadly for this sauce’s target market, which is made up of gimmick-slingers, Irish-Americans and children this is a limited edition product. With 75 jars of the stuff funnily enough only available when you comment under a Heinz Instagram post. Presumably, when enough hype has been generated, the jars will start to appear in shops, which would correspond perfectly with March 17th, just like Saint Patrick would have wanted.
Heinz’s social media team tells us that this sauce “will Sham-rock your world” which is a slightly alarming concept and not what you expect to get from a jar of mayonnaise. But a bang of paddywackery is not what you would expect from a jar of mayo either. The product straddles a thin line between an Irishness and an interpretation of an Orishness, which crops up every March. It’s something we tolerate while the rest of the world indulges in. It’s a lazy form of Irishness that we would probably prefer to forget. The sheer level of mysticism and gimmick with which this product is being sold is a reminder of that. It just feels like a bit of low-hanging fruit for a company like Heinz who has been so embedded in Irish consumerism to pick.
Anyway, who knows what the future will hold for this latest shamrock-green-washed enterprise. If they leave it long enough it could be the condiment equivalent of the McDonald’s shamrock shake- much beloved because of its infrequent availability and the fact that it tastes nothing like shamrocks.
Elsewhere on District: Praise the pasta gods Grano is back open