Heinz is inviting conversation by asking consumers to vote on whether they believe tomatoes are a fruit or vegetable.
April 6 is National Tomato Day, the latest in an ongoing string of internet holidays, but are we celebrating a fruit or vegetable? Heinz is using the day as a platform to continue its “Grown Not Made” campaign by igniting the longstanding debate on Twitter and Instagram.
The campaign includes an online poll through April 8. Consumers can vote on their choice of fruit or vegetable through a dedicated microsite, a poll on Heinz’ official Twitter account or by posting on social media with the hashtag #tomatoedebate.
Fruit or vegetable? Join the great #tomatodebate.
— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) April 5, 2018
Heinz will also be selling a limited quantity of ketchup bottles that either read, “Heinz Ketchup: Made from Tomato Fruits” or “Heinz Ketchup: Made from Tomato Vegetables.” Depending to the results of its online poll, Heinz will change its website to either heinzfruitketchup.com or heinzvegetableketchup.com. The winning bottle label will also be sold as an ongoing Heinz product.
The Twitter poll yielded over 27,000 responses as of Friday, and dozens of posts followed with users weighing in on the tomato’s preferred classification. An official Instagram post announcing the poll has also received numerous replies on what a tomato is, with users adding their own hashtag #teamvegetable or #teamfruit.
The tomato debate has been raging for centuries. In the 1893 United States Supreme Court case Nix. v. Hedden, the court ruled unanimously that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than as a fruit.
Scientists define a fruit as a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. As tomatoes develop from individual flowers, it has been deemed a fruit. However, in culinary terms, a more savory albeit seed-bearing structure such as tomatoes and bell peppers are considered a vegetable.