My Ketchup Taste-Test: Upset! Guess Which Brand Topped Heinz.

Flickr Photo Credit: Pixel Drip

Ketchup is the most popular condiment in the United States, and if you ask one hundred people what their favorite brand is, ninety-nine will usually say Heinz.  As for the other guy, he’ll simply say he doesn’t like ketchup, period.  It’s true.

Then there are the kids; I’m certain mine believe that if Heinz ever went out of business, then ketchup would become extinct.

There can be little doubt that the world definitely revolves around Heinz — at least when it comes to ketchup.

A fun article by Jane Black in the Washington Post recalled a ketchup taste-test published in Vogue where 35 different ketchup varieties were sampled and placed into the following categories: Worse Than Heinz, Heinz, Better Than Heinz and Not Really Ketchup.

Heinz Ketchup And Conventional Wisdom

When it comes to all things ketchup, I think most people subscribe to the conventional wisdom that says Heinz is virtually unbeatable.

In fact, Black’s article cites a piece in the New Yorker magazine that makes a credible case why Heinz is essentially ketchup perfection — or at least as close to perfection as any brand could possibly get.  Perhaps this is why Heinz ketchup is so dominant, with a market share of 60 percent in the United States, and 70 percent in Canada.

Anyway, with such a strong headwind against Heinz’s competition, conducting a ketchup taste-test initially seemed like an obvious waste of time.  However, in a stunning upset for the ages, a clear majority of my expert panel actually crowned an underdog brand as the best tasting ketchup, which proves the old maxim, “That’s why they play the game.”

How the Test Was Conducted

As with most of my other taste tests, I recruited a bunch of family members as an expert panel — this time there were 11 eager volunteers (plus the dog, of course).

With the panel in place, I prepared individual ketchup samples in separate bowls.   To ensure the taste test was a blind comparison, the samples were marked ‘A’ through ‘E.’

To sample each ketchup, the panel was given a generous supply of french fries.

The experts were asked to rank each ketchup solely for taste, from best to worst, with five points for the top performer and one point for the worst.  The panel was also free to note any accompanying comments they had regarding each sample.

When comparing products, panelists that could not discern a clear taste advantage between two or more brands were allowed to give identical rankings.

The Expert Panel

Before we get to the results, let’s once again meet our distinguished panel of experts:

Doris

Aunt Doris
Birthplace: London, England
Age: Old enough to know better, young enough not to care.
First Car: 1950 Pontiac Chieftain

Tony
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut
Age: 67
First Car: 1958 Chevy Impala

.

Mom

Mom
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio
Age: 70
First Car: 1956 Chevy

Rose

Rose
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Age: Old enough to be my mother-in-law.
First Car: 1958 Chevy Impala

Kevin

Kevin
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio
Age: 58
First Car: 1961 Volkswagen

Chris

Chris
Birthplace: Hemet, California
Age: Classified (but if you’re interested, it’s on WikiLeaks).
First Car: 1967 Ford Galaxy 500

Honeybee

The Honeybee
Birthplace: Whittier, California
Age: 42
First Car: 1969 Volkswagen

Evan

Evan
Birthplace: Escondido, California
Age: 32
First Car: 1999 Mitsubishi Galant

Mark

Mark
Birthplace: Escondido, California
Age: 30
First Car: 1984 Toyota Camry

Matthew

Matthew
Birthplace: Fontana, California
Age: 13
First Car: Hoping to score Dad’s 1997 Honda Civic. (Fat chance).

Nina

Nina
Birthplace: Fontana, California
Age: 11
First Car: 2001 Fisher-Price

Major1

Major
Birthplace: Julian, California
Age: 7
First Car: 2005 BMW M3 (Just the bumper.)

.

Introducing The Ketchup Competitors

I ran down to my local Albertsons supermarket and bought all five brands of ketchup that they were offering for sale.

In addition to Heinz, I also selected an organic variety by Wild Harvest, a bargain-brand with the Shoppers Value label, Hunts — which happens to be Heinz’s  biggest name-brand competitor — and, lastly, the Albertsons store brand.

Here now, in reverse order, is a summary of the ketchup taste test results, based upon the inputs of my expert panel:

5. Hunts Ketchup

Price per ounce: $0.08
Panel Scoring: 34 points
Average Score (5-point scale): 2.8
Human Judges Who Deemed It the Best: Zippo.

Although it did manage to score four runner-up ribbons from the panelists, the Hunts brand was unable to garner a single vote for the best-tasting ketchup.   Those disliking the Hunts had the strongest opinions.  Mark noted the ketchup was bland, while the Honeybee was a bit more, um, direct: “It tastes like crap.”  Judging by how quickly my dog ate his french fry, it’s obvious he didn’t agree.  Hmmm.  On second thought, maybe the dog did agree with my wife’s assessment — er, if you know what I mean.

4. Albertsons Ketchup

Price per ounce: $0.09
Panel Scoring: 34 points
Average Score (5-point scale): 2.8
Human Judges Who Deemed It the Best: 2

Although the Albertsons brand didn’t fare much better than Hunts, it did at least pick up two votes for the best-tasting ketchup.  Mark said he picked this brand as his favorite because of its “classic taste.”

3. Wild Harvest Organic Ketchup

Price per ounce: $0.15 (the most expensive of all brands tested)
Panel Scoring: 35 points
Average Score (5-point scale): 2.9
Human Judges Who Deemed It the Best: 1

Even though it was not part of the judging criteria, several panelists noted the uniquely darker color of the organic ketchup from Wild Harvest.  Perhaps not surprisingly, this was the most expensive ketchup sampled, however it didn’t perform as well as one might expect considering the price premium (it was a penny per ounce more expensive than Heinz).  Only one judge, Aunt Doris, gave it the nod for the best tasting ketchup.  According to her, the Wild Harvest brand “had the best tomato flavor” of all the competitors.

2. Heinz Ketchup

Price per ounce: $0.14
Panel Scoring: 42 points
Average Score (5-point scale): 3.5
Human Judges Who Deemed It the Best: 2

Almost all of the judges noted the thicker consistency of the Heinz ketchup.  In all, two judges selected the Heinz as the best tasting brand.  Five others picked Heinz as the runner up.  Rose liked “the fresh flavor” while the Honeybee thought this one “had the best combination of sour and sweet.”

1. Shoppers Value Ketchup

Price per ounce: $0.06 (the least expensive of all brands tested)
Panel Scoring: 51 points
Average Score (5-point scale): 4.3
Human Judges Who Deemed It the Best: 6

My cousin Kevin jokingly remarked that, although he loves it as much as the next guy, he still considers ketchup to be “a hillbilly condiment.”  Perhaps that’s why, somewhat unbelievably, the most popular ketchup with the panel was also the least expensive one.  With blue ribbons from six judges, the Shoppers Value brand not only vanquished Heinz, but it thoroughly trounced all of the competition.  The victory was so impressive that all but one of the judges ranked it either first, second, or third on their list.  Nina and the Honeybee liked the Shoppers Value brand for its sweetness, and Kevin selected it because he thought it had a nice vinegar flavor.  The dichotomy suggests that, flavor-wise, the Shoppers Value ketchup is actually a very well-balanced condiment — something that is typically considered a key strength of the Heinz brand.

The Moral of the Story: Brand Loyalty Can Be Costly

Our brand loyalty is often determined by what we grew up with as kids — especially when it comes to groceries.  I grew up with Heinz ketchup and, until now, have never once considered abandoning it for a less expensive brand such as Shoppers Value.

As always, my best advice to you is to never make assumptions as to which product is superior.

If anything, I think my ketchup taste test just goes to show that it pays to not get complacent with your shopping habits.  Go ahead and take a chance every once in awhile; challenge your brand loyalty by occasionally “testing the waters” with a competing label.

You never know; why risk settling for a familiar but more expensive brand when there might be better-tasting, less expensive, alternatives just waiting to be discovered?

85 comments to My Ketchup Taste-Test: Upset! Guess Which Brand Topped Heinz.

  • So … Where can I buy Shoppers Value ketchup in southwest Florida?

    • Shoppers Value is distributed by Supervalu. Here is their website, which has a store locator (near the bottom of their web page) that can help you find stores in your area that carry Shoppers Value products.

      http://www.supervalu-storebrands.com/storebrands_labels.asp

      • Mike

        Len, In general, I hate ketchup. It can be tolerated on fries but only if the fries are of really poor quality. It has no place in my world except to cover the taste of something even less palatable. However, others in my home like ketchup so I went to the supervalu website to find it. I entered my zipcode (60640) and the closest store was about 5 miles away in a distant zipcode at a Cub foods store. I live in the heart of Chicago, so when it comes to grocery shoppong, anything further than a mile takes major consideration. (We have a saying here, Chicago has only 2 seasons, winter and construction. Currently, EVERY underground water pipe is being replaced at a cost of zillions of dollars)

        In addition, this problem increases to the level of absurdity as Cub foods, at least this store, has been closed for over 5 years.

        Of couse, I wouldn’t expect you to check every area in the U.S. but I am at a loss as to why you didn’t check mine. That’s about as absurd as the store being closed for 5 years, but you seem to have a sense of humor, so I thought I’d throw it in.

        But perhaps someone with influence (you rather than me) could ask supervalue to update their website more than once adecade, if that.

        If you want, you might send this email to them along with your taste test to show them how much of the disgusting tomato(e) based substance they are not selling by leading customers astray.

        BTW, I have eaten Supervalu products before and have found many of them to be a 4+ quality, so I do have an interest in finding a resourse for them.

        http://www.supervalu-storebrands.com/storebrands_labels.asp

  • When I read the headline of your post I thought “Hunts is the worst!”, and I was right. I cannot stand Hunts. I must be a hillbilly because I love my ketchup and am very particular about it. (For instance, I cannot stand the ketchup at Canadian McDonalds. They probably use real ingredients or something there.)

    Loved the photos in the post. I felt like I was there!

  • Well, for a moment I was upset to find there’s no Shoppers Value connection near me. But then I looked up my cost for Heinz, 5.6 cents per ounce at Costco, a fraction of your price per ounce in the supermarket, and even lower that SV.
    Even if SV tasted better, tough to introduce a generic brand into my house when we’ve used the Heinz for decades.

    • This post was a great example of how generic vs non-generic is about trivial perceptions and marketing. Interesting to see a comment about reluctance to move away from a loyal brand connection. Especially since I don’t imagine that Heinz has contributed much to most consumers as far as customer service or other lifestyle commitments outside of just being a product on the shelf

      • TampaMom

        This post is a reply to Sketchee’s statement “I don’t imagine that Heinz has contributed much to most consumers as far as customer service or other lifestyle commitments outside of just being a product on the shelf.” Just wanted to say that I have a lot of respect for the Heinz Company because they commit a huge portion of their profits to the Heinz Foundation, which funds many, many, MANY charities, nonprofit organizations and research grants. PS: Loved the survey, and appreciated the “first car” info on the participants. It might not be important, but it was fun! Thanks!

  • GREAT post Penzo, the perfect balance of sweetness, and vinegar…

    Two questions:
    “What the hell does the ‘first car’ have to do with anything?”

    “How big is your dog?” Must be a mastiff like my daughters, to hit the bumper and not just the tire…

  • Len,

    It’s my understanding that salsa recently overtook kethup as the most popular condiment in America. Maybe, you are going to have to do a salsa taste test.

  • Spedie

    I most always buy the generic type of catsup, because, well, if I don’t like it (never have had that situation), I’d just put ketchup on it!!! :)

  • From a consumer perspective, it shows that it can be costly to be brand loyal. You can get a comparable product at less price in many cases…or maybe even a better product.

    From a business perspective, it shows how valuable smart branding can be. So much of it is all about strategic marketing. Perception can trump reality, and make you money too!

  • @Everyday: I consider myself to be picky about ketchup too, Kris. Then there’s my son; he is a ketchup-holic. The boy puts the stuff on *everything* (even pizza) — and he preferred the Shoppers Value too.
    @Joe: You make a great point about being able to get Heinz for cheap at Costco — that’s where we buy our Heinz ketchup! LOL Thanks for pointing that out. Still, not everyone is a member of Costco or other club stores, or wants to buy ketchup in bulk.
    @Dr. Dean: Thank you, Doc! To answer your first question: not a darn thing. :-) As for the second, I have a seven year old Rhodesian Ridgeback that weighs about 125 pounds. He has accidentally bowled me over a few times when we play.
    @Bret: In one of my earlier name-brand vs store-brand taste tests, I compared Pace salsa to the Albertson’s store brand. Maybe I should do a taste test with a wider variety of salsas though. I’ll see what I can do. :-)
    @Spedie: You sound like my son. LOL
    @Squirrelers: Yep, branding is extremely important. Smart branding can make up for a lot of imperfections — although I’d never accuse the quality of Heinz ketchup as being flawed in any way. :-)

  • I guess I am the one of 100 people that doesn’t like ketchup. But I also don’t like french fries.

    We use Heinz….tried to buy something else, and the kid and the husband wouldn’t eat it.

  • I LOVE these taste test things. I have been known to keep the name brand container and swap out the lower priced stuff without the family knowing. It saves me money and if the don’t notice, who am I hurting?

  • @Sandy, LOL. I should totally do that to my husband’s bottle of French’s mustard…I don’t think he can really tell anyway…

    Len, I wish I had the post ideas you do, lol. Great taste test! We usually use the leftover ketchup packets from fast food, so I think the only other bottle in the house is Kroger brand, lol. :-)

  • Fun experiment! I’m a big proponent of buying generic myself. With 99% of products you really can’t tell the difference. I think the only who wins out with the branding are the ad agencies.

  • Sandy E.

    Your mom was born in Youngstown, OH? that caught my attn. because I was born in New Castle, PA. Mention it to her, she’ll know. I have relatives in Youngstown. Re ketchup, and not meaning to throw a wrench into the monkey, I’ve been buying Hunts because it’s made without high fructose corn syrup. At a restaurant though, I will eat whatever ketchup is presented and lots of it.

  • @YesIAmCheap: You’re not the only one, Sandy. I’ve done it before with cereal — the kids don’t know the difference.
    @BIFS: We use those ketchup packets too, sometimes when we’ve run out of the Heinz in the bottle. However, the downside is sometimes we get one that we’ve been saving just a *little* too long and it tastes really gross.
    @Jane: As my other taste test experiments have verified, for many items you can’t tell the difference, sometimes the store-brand is better, and sometimes the national brands win out.
    @Sandy E.: Both my mom *and* dad are from Youngstown, OH! I still have a few relatives living there. :-)

  • Hi Len, I definitely agree on the Hunts ketchup! Bleh. I was a Heinz girl for a while but then I switched to the Whole Foods organic, which is quite tasty. The price per serving? I’ve conveniently forgot. :) Now I am seriously craving french fries!

  • I am less picky regarding ketchup, mustard is more important. In Belgium, there is 200 varieties. The bottom line is it is personal taste, but worth taking a second look!

  • I am also of the 1% that doesn’t like ketchup. I love tomato and all natural tomato sauces but ketchup for me it’s always artificial…

  • By the way, I like all your Taste-Test that you have done Len. Pretty interesting!

  • I believe that if you had allowed the judges to consider the thickness of the ketchup as well as taste, Heinz would have triumphed. However, I’m biased. I grew up in SW Pa., so black and gold courses through my veins, and I also bleed Heinz ketchup. (Go Steelers!)

  • @krantcents: I hate mustard. Absolutely detest the stuff. Even Grey Poupon.
    @Nona: Thanks for explaining how one can like tomato sauces but dislike ketchup. That is a great explanation that makes sense to me. Abrazos y besos!
    @Karen: Pittsburgh has nothing to be ashamed of in how the Heinz performed! Although I can’t say for certain Heinz would have won if I had expanded the criteria to include other characteristics like color and thickness, I suspect it may have. My opinion is that it was clearly the thickest and richest of the all five samples.

  • Where do you find the Shopper’s Value brand? I always buy name brand when it comes to ketchup, but apparently that’s a mistake! Thankfully, I get it on sale with coupon.

  • jdp

    YES! My local Shop N Save has shoppers value according to their website.

    Smart mom’s know how to get around the ‘label’ reject of kids (and grown kids, i.e. husbands) – buy the SV and pour it in an heinz bottle :) After its all gone and no one complained you can reveal the empty SV bottle and voila – brand switch.

  • Caz

    This is interesting because ketchup here in Australia actually IS different tasting/flavoured to American ketchup.

    And so, I am a loyal Heinz girl even though it’s by far the most expensive only because I actually can taste the difference and dislike whatever it is the Aussies add to their typical ketchup brands.

  • kelliinkc

    I buy whatever ketchup I get the best price on. Family doesn’t seem to notice. On the salsa taste test….. My family hates the typical cooked Pace, Old El Paso. My favorite is the fresh, refrigerated at Costco while my husband and son prefer the fresh, refrigerated at Sam’s.

    I also read your cereal taste test. Great articles!

  • @Caz: Whatever the Aussies add to their ketchup, I just hope it’s not Vegemite. ;-)
    @kellinkc: I’m glad you enjoyed the articles! I like to make my own fresh salsa at home. There is nothing better — especially with homemade tortilla chips! :-)

  • Jambalaya

    One of the things I really like about Hunt’s is that it has no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) in it, while not being outrageously expensive like some “organic” ketchups.

    Call me crazy, but I think that’s a good thing. I prefer Hunt’s.

  • Dee

    We always do taste tests for products. Also, soap, shampoo, cleaning products and more! it’s always fun to do and the outcome usually surprises everyone!
    Great post! loved it!
    thanks,
    Dee

  • Sean Roberts

    Thanks for the taste test! I don’t think Hunt’s is that bad but I prefer Del Monte ketchup myself. It tastes great and the price is much cheaper than Heinz. Trader Joe’s has a ketchup that’s pretty good also.

  • michelle

    A simple way to ease yourself into enjoying generics is to buy a generic and empty it INTO an empty bottle of whatever name brand stuff you use around your house. I’ve done this before with Kroger mouthwash into Listerine bottles and been happy with how quickly I adapted to the new formula. So much of your perception is tied into appearance, and it’s easy to ‘trick’ yourself into enjoying lower-priced items!

  • @Jambalaya: You’re not the only one who like Hunts. It clearly has some popularity, as it is the number 2 brand in the US! :-)
    @Dee: Glad you enjoyed it! I hope you aren’t taste testing the shampoo and cleaners though! ;-)
    @Sean: My store didn’t carry Del Monte. I believe it is the number 3 brand in the US. Maybe I’ll revisit this next year and include Del Monte and Trader Joes. Thanks for the tip!
    @Michelle: Interesting! And, yep, those clever marketers know very well how much psychology plays into our buying habits. In a weird way it’s almost like we *don’t* have control over our own buying habits.

  • Dang it! I need to do a blind taste test too.
    We’ve been getting Hunts lately. I think it’s more tomatoey than Heinz, but I will need to do a test. It is a lot cheaper than Heinz at our store.

  • JustJenny

    We prefer Heinz Organic. It doesn’t taste as sweet as the regular Heinz and getting it at Costco makes the cost worth it.

  • kathleen

    We live in Ontario Canada where there is a Heinz producer. Our Heinz bottle say made in Canada and since it is ‘local’ I buy it even thought it is more expensive. It IS better than the store brand here, plus I am contributing to local economy and saving local jobs.

  • Dave

    Are you crazy? Hunt’s ketchup is way better than Heinz. I’ve been eating it since I was a kid. IMO, Heinz is too sweet and Hunt’s has a unique tang. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  • Steve

    I use any Ketchup that is not Heinz due to my dislike of John Kerry and his wife who owns the brand. Sorry but that’s how i feel. Can’t support that brand and enjoy my meal.

  • C T Vivian

    There is a very high probability that your winner was manufactured by one of your losers!

  • You should have tried Trader Joe’s organic Ketchup. It’s the best.

  • Ellen

    Still like Del Montes always the best. Not sure if they make it anymore as is hard to find. My mom always bought that one.

  • I live in PA. and just about every one is supose to just love Heinz ketchup and every thing else Heinz because its all made here.Well I don’t like Heinz ketchup.I like Del Monty ,Hunts and the store brand.But Heinz is the only ketcup served in the restrains here.So I will use it there .But not at home.

  • Doc50

    HEY EVERYONE! This survey is SKEWED! I discovered on Shoppers Value(Supervalue) FAQ wesite:
    Do you have a list of your products which contain gluten?
    We do not have list of our Store Brands products that contain gluten. We will request gluten information for individual products from the manufacturer and forward to you. Please provide the product name, UPC, and any other product code information from the package. You should receive a response within 10 business days.
    Request from the manufacturer? THEY DON’T MAKE THEIR OWN KETSUP! It’s probably Heinz.

    • Len Penzo

      So???? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter who makes the ketchup, Doc. The important point of this article is price vs. taste.

      If Heinz really IS the actual manufacturer of the bargain Shoppers Value ketchup, then the lesson to be taken away here is pretty obvious: buy the cheaper ketchup!

  • Laura

    America’s Test Kitchen did ketchup taste tests, and their expert tasters chose Hunts over Heinz. The people at America’s Test Kitchen could hardly believe it, but they actually switched brands and now solely use Hunts. I think Hunts tastes great too, and it’s usually cheaper than Heinz.

  • keith

    Count my vote for the Trader Joes organic. Best taste, low salt and sugar, best ingredients.

  • TooFunnyToTalk

    Sooo many comments about one -every-day-item that everyone shares. LOL! Yes ketchup is serious business. Don’t mess with my ketchup. It’s Heinz, of course!

  • Kasey

    Whataburger ketchup is the best there is!

  • Art

    I stopped using Heinz and switched to Hunts after I realized that John Kerry and his wife benefit from the profits. No Democratic Ketchup or anything for me.I will not give 1 penny to finance the people who are pulling this country down.

  • Cuzzin Mikie

    I love the fact I pretty much recognized the entire panel! I also tend to agree with store brand taste vs brand name. I use MANY store brand products that taste as good, if not better than name brand. My kids are seriously not that pickey. Maggies science fair project next year will exhibit this very debate!

  • barb

    I stopped using Heinz in the early 80′s after a shareholders meeting for Heinz in London Ont.
    The CEO at the time was given a bonus of 10 million.

  • Excellent information, I agree with comment # 2.

  • I personally dont like ketchup, lol

  • Christina

    Isn’t the graph showing that Hunt’s had 2 votes, and showing that Heinz had 0? I thought it was the other way around? Forgive me if I am incorrect, I just thought about the information I read.

  • your taste testing was fun to read.

  • Nice Discussion. My favorite is Del Monte Ketchup!!! Aw!

  • Isail

    Years and years ago, the FDA employeed one man to do nothing but test ketchup and how it poured from a bottle. (yes…then, a bottle !) Heinz was the thickest. When the government cut the budget, this man lost his job ! (about TIME !) I will not eat fries anywhere unless they serve Heinz!!…freedom to choose is wonderful ! Let’s fight to keep it !

  • Phil

    This is definitely a case of “tyranny of the majority!” I do NOT like Heinz (one of the reasons I don’t ever order french fries at restaurants is because Heinz is usually the only ketchup they serve) and I do like Hunt’s very much. But then, I have a very low tolerance for excessive spiciness of any kind in food, and that’s what annoys me about Heinz – it’s much too “sharp” for my taste.

    A lot of people seem to like “ethnic” foods that are extra “hot”, but I am not one of them. I have a friend that I think could eat hot charcoal and it would not bother him, but I am just the opposite – I need a glass of water if I even SEE a red pepper in a store! :) So for folks like me (and I suspect I am not the only one), Hunt’s is the ONLY ketchup that can be eaten without your mouth feeling like it’s been burned and your gut feeling like something is on fire down there!

    • Len Penzo

      I think you are the first person who I’ve ever come across who thinks Heinz ketchup is spicy. However, I can still relate: I don’t like things overly spicy or hot either. I think folks who do have lost their sense of taste too. I have one relative who has to put Tobasco on everything. Everything! And lots of it — even stuff like soup. It really makes no sense to me.

  • peter law

    GREEN?
    WHERE was it that they changed the colour of ketchup (catchup?)…same taste etc…and NO one would use it!

    is it all in the mind?

    pete

  • In Australia we have Rosella tomato sauce! by far better than heinz ketchup would ever be :)

    Steve

  • Evan James Rodgers

    As for me and my house we honor Hunts Tomato Ketchup and we choose Hunts Tomato Ketchup.Hunts
    is the best choice for thick,rich tomato ketchup,
    for me and thousands of others.It should br noted
    that Hunts is partnering with Feeding America to
    combat child hunger.As one in six Americans struggle
    with hunger, this is a noble cause.Mucho Bravo Hunts! I have been working in food service off and on for years and I have interviewed a number of people regarding ketchup.In my area (MD-DC), Hunts
    is a strong favorite. Regardless of what brand that you choose ketchup is a good source of bioavalable Lycopene and THAT IS IMPORTANT! Thank
    you for your attention to ketchup on this page.
    -Evan J Rodgers Hyattsville,MD

  • Peg

    I was not a ketchup lover, until we went to Canada. I had Heinz on my french fries and loved it!! It has a much better taste than what we buy in the US. I figured out if I put some 1/8th teaspoon of cinnamon in the 36oz. bottle (mix cinnamon with ketchup then add back to bottle)shake well and let sit a day,shake one more time and use. I love it.I haven’t tried any other brand yet.

  • Steve Mitchell Sr.

    FYI : Sliced White Bread and Chocolate Ice Cream Anecdotals

    Many years ago, a university classmate who worked summers at a national brand mega-bakery in Toronto, Canada, told us that the same-recipe loaves of bread continued down the conveyor belt to the packaging machine where SEVEN different brands of wrappers were loaded throughout his shift [ the night shift ]. National, and 6 different chain-store supermarket labels. Wide range of retail prices — same bread !

    My summer job taught me to never eat chocolate ice cream. I was a delivery truck driver [ ice cream only ] for a large [ national brand, again ] dairy in Toronto. I learned first-hand that old-date [ expired ] returned ice cream was always recycled into the chocolate vat. Foreman told me that the strong taste of chocolate kills any off-odours from all other flavours of old ice cream returned from grocery stores. Previously, I had been a chock full of chocolate ice cream teenager.

    Taste-testing is the most reliable quality control for our family.

    Semi-retired and teaching English in South Korea, we have found that occasional shopping at the local Costco to consistently be an expensive yet necessary luxury/evil, in order to enjoy back-home flavours, varieties, familiar brand labels, English language nutritional info, and to fight homesickness blues.

    Perception reigns supreme !!

    Interestingly, there must be two dozen brands of milk available at the supermarkets here. The store’s house brand always the cheapest, by far.

    Costco’s local supplier’s price comes out second-best, surprisingly. Costco’s bananas are almost double the price elsewhere.

    Recently, we watched on the Korean Discovery Channel, the massive, automated Heinz [ largest in all of Europe ] facility in the U.K. Baked beans were featured. Perhaps its only product [ ?? ] since beans on toast is the frugal breakfast of champions in the U.K., I’m told.

    Finally, another important use of vinegar. Refill an old perfume dispenser with a vinegar-water solution [ mixed to your own taste, of course ] to have a fragrant, cheap, eyeglasses cleanser.

    We recently stumbled upon your blog and love it. Carry on, Yank !!

  • Mae

    Maybe this needs to be redone. Hunts has put the HFCS back into their ketchup, while Heinz is unpredictable about which bottles have/don’t have sugar or HFCS.

    http://consumerist.com/2013/01/30/hunts-manages-to-sneak-high-fructose-corn-syrup-back-into-its-ketchup-after-2-years-without/
    http://www.heinzfoodservice.com/products-and-brands/ketchup/tabletop/upside-down-20oz

  • Gary Bell

    Come on, Len, if you actually want to appeal to a much larger segment of the economy begin using Walmart,instead of Albertsons. Walmart sells far more groceries than any other supermarket in the U.S. Do I perceive a bias against Walmart? Hmm?

    • Len Penzo

      Naw, Gary. I shop at WalMart sometimes too. It’s just that my Albertsons is right down the street and much more convenient.

  • Charlene

    I don’t know how old this post is, but it’s a subject so near & dear to my heart that I want to comment. My favorite ketchup is Brooks (tangy ketchup). It’s what I was brought up on and is the favorite of my siblings as well. It might be a regional product; I live in Michigan. After we bought our vacation home in Florida last year I was so bummed that I couldn’t find Brooks Ketchup down there that on one of my husband’s trip back to Florida (where I spent the whole winter) I had him check a bag (for free!) just so he could bring me a couple of bottles of it! Yes, I have a great husband. :-) He’s hasn’t retired yet. If we ever move to Florida full time I’ll have to have a sibling ship it to me! At least they do have Vernor’s pop in Florida. That would be an expensive shipment due to the weight.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter: My Ketchup Taste-Test Experiment http://tiny.cc/fqv20 My expert panel sampled 5 brands and Heinz came in second to a surprising winner. [...]

  • [...] Penzo with My Ketchup Taste Test: Upset!  Guess Which Brand Topped Heinz  I have no idea where he gets these ideas, [...]

  • [...] Penzo conducted a blind taste test of America’s favorite condiment, the ketchup. I need to do my own taste test because I am currently buying Hunts, the bottom of his [...]

  • [...] Is Heinz the best ketchup? I recall Streetcents doing this in the 90′s on CBC and the cheapo won there as well. Hehe Streetcents was awesome. [...]

  • [...] Enough Len abuse, let’s honor him with imitation, the most sincere form of flattery:  A product comparison study… [...]

  • [...] Brand names-I know you think you have to have Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnut, or maybe even  fresh beans from your favorite roaster , but now may be the time to cut your habit.  Slowly shave back consumption.  No cold turkey caffeine withdrawal headache.  The same can go for bread, tuna, peanut butter.  My friend  Len Penzo even proved brand alliance for ketchup may be a mistake. [...]

  • [...] Len Penzo’s fantastic series, some of you have done your own little taste tests and confirmed that sometimes [...]

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Question of the Week:

Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...