How Heinz Ketchup is changing home building


For 80 years Heinz put ketchup in bottles that proved almost impossible to use. You’d shake, pound, and pat in anticipation of that first dollop. Then they flipped it and put it in a squeeze bottle anyone from 8 to 88 could easily use. Why? It’s better.

That’s the idea behind encouraging builders to use Better Living Design concepts in new and remodeled homes. For 100 years homes in America have been designed and built for the typical able-bodied adult, with no consideration for accommodating anyone else.

With the 65+ population set to explode in the coming years, AARP convened building associations, academics, designers, and SIR to determine how best to encourage builders and remodelers to begin using universal design concepts in their work. UD, as it’s called, had been around for 30 years, but wasn’t embraced because it had come to mean ADA-compliant design: ramps, grab bars, and the like.

Through qualitative research, workshops, and a review of best practices from around the globe, SIR proposed a repackaging of UD into BLD: Better Living Design. This re-branding is changing the home-building and remodeling industry, one house at a time.

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