Back in 2004, the New Yorker published a long feature article on ketchup. One of the most sophisticated magazines in the world devoted about 10 pages to this common condiment. In the article, the author, Malcolm Gladwell, set out to answer one question:
Gladwell wrote that when it comes to other condiments and sauces, there’s public appetite for multiple brands and varieties. But that’s not the case with ketchup. For over a century, no other ketchup brand or recipe has come close to beating Heinz’s formula. Gladwell’s point persists to this day. With 650 million bottles sold every year, Heinz remains the #1 ketchup brand in foodservice and retail1. It’s the brand 98% of people know, 93% have tried, and 76% love2. These sky-high numbers show that businesses should continue to buy and serve Heinz ketchup.
So, back to Gladwell’s question: Why is Heinz the undefeated champion in the ketchup arena?
A full spectrum of taste
Before Henry Heinz came along, ketchups were made with unripe tomatoes, which made them thin and watery. They also included a preservative called benzoate, which some believed to be unsafe. But Heinz re-worked the recipe in fundamental ways that made it thicker, safer and better-tasting. He used ripe tomatoes, replaced benzoate with vinegar, and increased the concentration of sugar3. The result? A ketchup that achieved what very few products can: it stimulates all five tastes within the human palate: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami.
Not only does Heinz ketchup hit every taste, it does so in equal measure. When trained tasters evaluate Heinz, they judge all the critical flavors to be very well balanced and blended4. When this happens, they say a food has high “amplitude” – no single flavor stands out, but all combine seamlessly to “bloom” in your mouth.
The first bottles of Heinz ketchup were made with ripe tomatoes, and that has never changed. But today, “ripe” is only the base requirement. Heinz tests 300 tomato varieties to find the sweetest, thickest and juiciest. And recognizing that a tomato’s quality starts at the seed, HeinzSeed partners do not use genetic modification techniques – only traditional breeding methods that foster the finest fruit.
With wide appeal and narrow competition, Heinz ketchup needs to be accessible to everyone, everywhere – from 3-year-olds to 93-year-olds; in food courts, franchises, and restaurants; for sit-down-meals at home, and for quick bites on-the-go. That’s why Heinz ketchup is available in glass and plastic bottles, single-serve sachets, and bulk containers – a variety of packages to suit a variety of business and individual needs.
Heinz will always offer the traditional ketchup people know and love, but the brand also continues to grow and innovate. Their portfolio has diversified based on current trends. For instance, they now carry low-sodium ketchup, Simply Heinz ketchup, and Organic ketchup. A trusted brand since 1869, Heinz is like The Beatles of condiment culture – a timeless favorite that’ll make your food sing, and won’t ever go out of style.