From Twinings tea to KFC, Mars bars to HP Sauce, manufacturers keep changing their recipes, often destroying much-loved products. Would you fight for your favourite recipe, like many others have?
Breakfast on a sunny Saturday morning. A nice pot of tea and a full English breakfast, accompanied with my favourite sauce.
However is my breakfast truly what it seems? It appears the heritage brands we all know and love are changing under our very noses.
Tea Jim – but not as we know it
In April this year tea giant Twinings changed its recipe for Earl Grey adding ‘a dash of lemon and a touch more bergamot’ to the teabags. There was an instant backlash with devoted supporters claiming it to be ‘vile’, ‘dishwater’ and one commentator saying it made her feel ‘nauseous’.
Luckily, the public outcry has lead Twinings to rethink its decision and release the original recipe as “Classic Earl Grey”. I can just picture Patrick Stewart aboard the Starship Enterprise eyeing his cup of Earl Grey with unease.
I also can’t help but wonder what Harold Wilson, who popularised HP Sauce in the 1960s, would make of his favourite condiment now that maker Heinz has changed the recipe.
The recipe had remained true to the original for 116 years but now Heinz has more than halved the levels of salt without informing consumers. Here at Which? we’re all for healthier options, but the backlash shows that others may not be. Fans of ‘Wilson’s gravy’ say the sauce has lost its taste – Marco Pierre White described it as ‘dodgy’, but will Heinz rethink its decision as public pressure mounts?
Not so finger lickin’ good?
It seems that companies have always been tinkering with recipes. After selling his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken chain in 1964, Colonel Sanders criticised the new owners for ruining his gravy by turning it into ‘sludge’ with a ‘wallpaper taste’.
Famously in 2007 Mars had to back down after attempting to change the whey used to manufacture the bars, from a vegetarian source to one including traces of rennet, an enzyme from animals. Vegetarian groups protested and Mars made a spectacular u-turn stating that it had become ‘very clear, very quickly’ that it had made a mistake.
So, would you fight to keep the recipe of your favourite food true to the original? Will Heinz have to backtrack in the face of public pressure and return “Wilson’s Gravy” to its original recipe? For the sake of my Saturday fry up, I hope so!