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The Car Made Out of Ketchup

June 13, 2014

Car manufacturers are constantly in search of newer, better materials to work with. Aluminium has replaced steel for its lightweight properties. Carbon fibre is regularly used on performance cars for its strength and low weight. Ford, however, have taken a rather unusual approach to their materials research and development – and they’re planning on using tomatoes!

Partnering up with Heinz

Car giant Ford and sauce giant Heinz have joined forces to research into the applications of tomato fibres in creating new lightweight, environmentally friendly plastics for use on their cars. A spokesperson for Ford has said they want to “explore the use of tomato fibre to develop a sustainable bio-plastic material for vehicles”.

Reducing Environmental Impact

The tomato fibre-based plastic not only comes from a environmentally friendly source, as a by product of tomato processing, it is also lightweight. With growing pressure on manufacturers to produce increasingly fuel efficient cars, reducing weight is high on the priority list. Ford said “we are exploring whether this food processing by-product makes sense for an automotive application. Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact”.

The Future of Bioplastics

This isn’t the first time unusual materials have been used in cars, with Volkswagen successfully using pineapple pulp to manufacture an eco-friendly roof lining for the VW Fox city car. Although the technology is still its infancy, it’s clear Ford is serious about pursuing bio-plastics and environmentally friendly materials. They have already begun working with industry giants including Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble.

Millions of cars are scrapped every year, and a large amount of the materials currently used are non-recyclable. If bioplastics are implemented into mainstream production, they could effectively solve the problem – as they are manufactured from food waste products and are fully recyclable.


If you fancy getting your hands on a super economical ride, check out our list of the top 5 fuel efficient cars. And who better to finance your eco-drive than the Car Loan Warehouse? Our car financing experts work with dealers and lenders to find you the best deal going – saving you money on fuel and you car finance! Try our quick and easy car loan calculator for an instant quote.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.