×

Heinz ketchup and Kraft mac and cheese, together at last?

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Getty Images
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Heinz and Kraft announced on Wednesday their plans to merge. Of course, Heinz is most famous for its ketchup, and Kraft is probably best known for those ubiquitous blue macaroni and cheese packages.

But who eats ketchup on their mac and cheese? Apparently, a lot of people. According to data provided to CNBC by Rhiza, a marketing analytics firm, we know now where in the country people are most likely to be customers of both products.

Rhiza's analysis, using an index of popularity, stems from the raw data in a 2014 Simmons Local survey of 50,000 Americans. First off, the chart of where Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is most popular:

Where Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is most popular

Remember this isn't just who buys Kraft products, but specifically who buys the company's macaroni and cheese brand. Yes, the data is very specific and detailed, exactly the type of information a product marketer would need to know for advertising purposes.

Mac and cheese is big in the Midwest; notice the broad areas of red centered around Nebraska, but stretching all the way from Idaho to West Virginia. The coasts and the Northeast don't fare as well here. Mac and cheese is predominantly a red state product.

Compare that to Heinz Tomato Ketchup, which dominates the Northeast:

Where Heinz ketchup is most popular

This might not be that surprising, given the Heinz headquarters are in Pittsburgh, and Teresa Heinz Kerry married former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Heinz ketchup has blue state politics written all over it. The most popular states for Heinz ketchup range from Maryland to New Hampshire. The Deep South is much more likely to buy Hunt's brand of ketchup.

And finally, the most important part here, the combined consumer group, is a map unique to itself:

Where Heinz ketchup and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese have combined popularity

Some of the Midwestern states stand out, like Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana. The Northeast falls away here—despite being big Heinz ketchup fans, it's not enough of a Kraft region to be a combined customer of both brands.

Utah stands out, as well as Louisiana, Delaware and Rhode Island.

While this particular analysis can seem a little silly, "this type of analysis is exactly what big consumer brands care about," said Josh Knauer, CEO of Rhiza. "Where are their strongholds for customers, and who do they need to go after more?"

These questions help ad buyers more efficiently target consumers. For states that already have combined popularity, the marketing approach needs to be different than in places where the products aren't as popular. Major population centers such as California, New York, Texas and Florida aren't as persuaded to mix the two products. These are clearly areas for the new combined company to grow sales.

"What's most interesting about the Heinz and Kraft overlap is it's in states that aren't specifically strong for each brand by itself," said Knauer. "The combination of the two brands leads to a different marketing landscape altogether."