/ Food & Drink

Where do you keep ketchup?

Tomato ketchup on shelf

Following a poll on Twitter that divided opinion pretty much straight down the middle, a branch of Asda has started stocking bottles of tomato ketchup in the fridge as well as on the shelf.

The poll of over 2,600 people saw 54% vote in favour of the cupboard and 46% the fridge, and led to quite a heated debate on social media.

Cupboard love

Naturally, the news sparked our own mini discussion about what should go in the fridge and what shouldn’t, so we figured it would make a perfect topic for convo.

When it came to ketchup, we were firmly in the cupboard camp.

Despite the fact that it says: ‘After opening refrigerate and eat within eight weeks’ on the bottle, I never have. Neither has my mum and nor did my nan (who used to call it ‘red sauce’ and certainly didn’t get through a whole bottle of the stuff within eight weeks!)

It’s a preserve (OK, it’s actually a condiment, which, in my opinion, amounts to pretty much the same thing). It’s packed with vinegar, sugar and salt, and was invented way before fridges existed. Surely keeping it in the fridge is a bit like shoving pickled onions or jam in there. To me, it defies logic.

In or out?

Once we’d concurred with each other on the matter, we got round to discussing other food ‘essentials’ – and it wasn’t as clear cut.

With mayonnaise, we all agreed it should live in the fridge and are wary of eating it if it hasn’t been kept in one. However, we weren’t so sure about eggs and butter.

With cheese, we decided it depended on provenance, and with chocolate, we said you risked destroying its consistency or breaking your teeth if you chilled it.

As for actual tomatoes? My foodie friend assures me they should be kept out on the worktop, something I’ve always scoffed at.

But it seems she’s right. According to research, chilling them below 12ºC inhibits their ability to generate substances that contribute to aroma and flavour.

So, to chill or not to chill, that is the question. What foods should definitely go in the fridge and what should be kept in the larder?

Where do you keep your ketchup?

In the fridge, like how it tells you to on the bottle (56%, 114 Votes)

In the food cupboard (44%, 90 Votes)

Total Voters: 204

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With most things these days, once it is opened it goes in the fridge. Our exceptions are honey, peanut butter, Lea & Perrins, oils and vinegars.

Whether it is necessary or not, I think it is better to be safe than sorry just in case something goes off because it is not refrigerated. I am sure things last longer if kept in the fridge.

We don’t always eat things within the time stated and use common sense whether it can still be consumed. I didn’t know it said with 6 weeks for ketchup and ours usually lasts several months !!! 🙂

I have always refrigerated eggs although my mum used to keep them on a marble slab. Butter would soon go rancid if left out so is refrigerated.


we keep our tomato sauce on the table – occasionally, if we tidy up, it goes in a deep kitchen drawer.

The problem with fridges is you can easily overlook the contents. The shelves are too deep. I’d design a fridge with deep shelves on the door and shallower ones fixed in the cavity, so you have more chance of seeing the contents.

Eggs – on the worktop.
Cheese – in the fridge, but if you want to eat it with crackers or bread, best to get it out to reach room temperature. Apparently its structure changes when cold.
Bread – I’m told you shouldn’t but we find it keeps much better. However, we don’t but pappy white loaves.
Chocolate – never refrigerate. it’ll try to break your teeth and the whole point of chocolate is to melt gently in your mouth at tongue temperature.


In the fridge. Ketchup should be cold. 😉


Doesn’t it lose its gloop and go stiff if it’s kept in the fridge? I like it a bit runny so we keep it in the cupboard.


Tomato ketchup is an everyday example of a time-dependent non-Newtonian fluid. Some people shake the bottle and pour out the sauce without even thinking about the concept of shear-thinning. And yes, the rheological properties are also temperature-dependent, hence the change in gloopiness when stored in the fridge.


We need a shaking head emoji. The first time I take a peek at this topic and see the exhilaratingly mind-boggling lines “Doesn’t it lose its gloop and go stiff if it’s kept in the fridge? I like it a bit runny so we keep it in the cupboard.”. Not having read the header I started wonder to which reality I’d been transported.


I was very impressed by Wavechange’s scientific discourse until I arrived at “gloopiness” and I burst out laughing! Still very impressed, but also amused. Perfect.


Thank you Sophie, but it was inspired by John’s post. I enjoyed your comment about Dante and his usurers in the banking topic, but that’s off topic right now.


This all started when the makers of Sunny Delight insisted that supermarkets put it in the chiller cabinets. There was no actual necessity but it gave the product a more genuine character as if it were a perishable juice.

I have noticed that jams and marmalade now also carry a “keep refrigerated after opening and consume within N weeks” warning on the label. This was never necessary when I was growing up and we had several jars on the go [including mother’s home-made] and some of them were in the cupboard for months after opening. Same with pickled onions and other heavily preserved items. Are the manufacturers scared of the health consequences if someone leaves the lid off or doesn’t screw it back on tightly enough to keep the air out?