H.J.Heinz Company has announced that two of its single serve condiment varieties will travel to outer space this spring. Heinz Barbeque Sauce and Seafood Cocktail Sauce were chosen as "bonus food items" by the International Space Station's Expedition 13 crew. These two bonus condiments join Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard and Mild Taco Sauce - all of which already fly as part of the standard U.S. condiment kit that goes to the space station.
"We're thrilled that NASA has selected us," said Becky Serafini, senior brand manager, Heinz Foodservice marketing (Ketchup, Condiments & Sauces). "It's an honor to be chosen as part of the program."
The condiments, enjoyed by millions of people throughout the world, are now officially "out of this world," Serafini said. "Consumers enjoy our sauces in almost every conceivable place to eat away from home. Space was one place we hadn't considered in the past, but now we've extended our supply of great taste beyond any borders we imagined." Of course, consumers who are closer to the ground can find Seafood Cocktail Sauce on the shelf at their favorite retail outlets, and packets of Heinz Barbecue Sauce are served at fine dining establishments across the nation.
According to NASA Facts, a publication from NASA, foods flown on space missions are researched and developed at the Space Food Systems Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The center is staffed by food scientists, dietitians and engineers. The food goes through nutritional analysis, sensory evaluation, storage studies, packaging evaluations and other thorough testing methods before being chosen. Astronauts scheduled for the flights also sample the proposed Space Station food items about nine months before departure.
NASA and its international partners have chosen U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov as the next crew for the International Space Station, designated Expedition 13. Williams and Vinogradov will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz (TMA-8) in March 2006. The men will follow a menu that was tested for its viability in space; various condiments were tested before final choices were made by the NASA team.
The Source for Space History & Artifacts - collectSPACE - is going to display the Heinz condiments, as well as several other food items that were selected for use at the Space Station, in a traveling display that goes to various schools and conventions.
NASA worked with a company called Minimus.biz, a retail and wholesale supplier of individual and travel size items, to procure the Heinz condiments. The condiments were selected to help the astronauts "liven up some of their space meals," according to Minimus.biz Vice President of Marketing Paul Shrater.
A special feature on food in space is available on NASA's website.
Heinz has ventured to space previously via a program called Tomatosphere, sponsored by Heinz Canada. Tomatosphere - a research project that involved more than 6,000 classrooms of students from grades 2 through 10 across Canada, the United States and several other nations - sent a half-million tomato seeds into space and then returned them in August 2005 on the space shuttle Discovery in order to learn whether seeds exposed to the harshness of outer space could still germinate and grow. This year, students will grow tomatoes from these seeds.