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It's the diner's dilemma. The only thing separating you from the perfect burger or fries is a dollop of ketchup, trapped inside its bottle. Some pound the bottom, scrape inside with a knife, or, according to lore, pound the "57" on the bottle at angle in order to tease out the savory sauce.
Those days may be over if a new product succeeds in hitting the mainstream.
LiquiGlide says it has invented a "permanently wet slippery surface" that enables viscous liquids to flow smoothly. The company announced last month that it had signed an exclusive licensing deal with Elmer's Products. for use in its glue containers.
Now its makers are eyeing the food aisles. But what is this mystery coating that keeps food items "permanently wet?"
J. David Smith, CEO of LiquiGlide, says that there is "nothing to worry about." He likens LiquiGlide to cooking oil.
"Think of it like oil in a frying pan that stops an egg from sticking, except we permanently trap the oil in place," Smith says. "To create our coatings, we can choose from hundreds of different materials, including food ingredients for food applications." Smith adds that these coatings can "literally be made from food that people eat every day."
"The exact ingredients are proprietary," Smith says. While it's understandable that LiquiGlide wouldn't want to give away its "secret sauce," people also want to know what they're eating.
"Some people [will] want to know what the oil is derived from for allergies and/or intolerances," said Felice Kosakavich, Chief Clinical Dietician at Cassena Care in Woodbury, New York.
Ingredient-conscious moms say they would also want to know they're serving up on their kids' sliders.
"Health-wise, I would wonder what the heck is 'LiquiGlide,'" said Gail Ghezzi, a Brooklyn-based mother of two young boys.
But restaurants have fewer qualms. Some eateries use "ketchup savers" where three half-empty ketchup bottles are placed upside down in a funnel to refill a new bottle.
Adrienne Pettit, the former manager of two restaurants in Beacon, New York, said LiquGlide "has the potential for significant cost savings," particularly if the bottles are sold at wholesale to the retailer.