/ Home & Energy

Heinz loses our taste test – are we ‘brand’ brainwashed?

Ketchup bottles

Do you automatically reach for the Heinz ketchup as you race round the supermarket? Shock news – it might not be as tasty as the own label alternatives – but would you be persuaded to change?

This month we carried out a blind taste test of ketchup comparing branded and supermarket own brands.

Of all the ketchup bought in the UK 60% of it is Heinz – but despite its popularity our consumer panel of 130 scored it poorly. In fact, it came joint second from the bottom out of the 13 sauces tested. Our tasters rated Sainsbury’s, M&S and Tesco ketchups the best.

And when we did the same test with baked beans last year the findings, although not as extreme, were not dissimilar. Heinz came joint 4th behind Branston, Asda and Morrisons baked beans.

Yet despite these findings I still buy Heinz Baked beans and ketchup.

What’s on your plate?

It’s odd as there are some items I always buy branded and others where I don’t really care. And judging by a previous Conversation we ran on this topic, I’m not alone. Our poll asked ‘What do you think of supermarket own-label food?’ – and 76% of you said ‘it varies so I buy according to product.’

I always buy ‘Weetabix’ but am happy to buy a supermarket’s own brand of ‘Fruit and Fibre’. I buy Fairy liquid and washing detergent but buy own brand bleach. And I’m happy to buy own brand pasta but prefer Tilda rice. I always buy own brand cheese as I’ve yet to find a brand that offers a strong, mature cheddar but buy brand yoghurts.

Are brands brainwashing us?

Thinking about it, there doesn’t seem to be any logic to my choices. I think I’m just set in my ways – I know what we like at home so I stick to it. I guess I don’t want to risk buying something that I won’t like which will then go to waste. At least that’s what I think, but maybe I’ve just been brainwashed over the years by clever marketing?

Are you surprised by the findings of our taste test? Do you always buy branded or own brand products or, like me, a mix of both?

Romantico says:
3 November 2016

Tesco s own baked beans are far too sweet – too much sugar – too much runny sauce with unpleasant taste .the beans themselves are very small and machy . I will never have them again . Is it that difficult to produce healthy tasty beans in this Modern advanced age !!??

We like M&S baked beans. We also like their Tomato Ketchup at around 1/3 the price of Heinz, and their brown sauce at less than 1/2 the price of HP. I don’r want to pay a premium for the expense of advertising and promoting ordinary products,

Do M&S say where their brown sauce is produced? I see that HP sauce is made in The Netherlands.

We like Waitrose Mixed Beans in Spicy Sauce. Not much spice, not much taste and lately rather more sauce than there used to be, but they are much less windy than other baked beans and we add our own taste of tomato, brown or bbq sauce.

Made in the UK. The packager code is SC 6385 but I don’t know what this allows you to track down.

I remember passing the HP Sauce factory – very large building with tower – when driving around Birmingham. It employed 125 people until 2007 when it was demolished. Perhaps the new HP should be called Sauce Hollandaise.

When I was young my late great aunt used to live within the aroma zone of the HP sauce factory when it was at its peak of production; in those days it must have employed twice that number on every shift. Hundreds of women would pour out of the factory in small gloops wearing cross-over aprons and turbans to get the tram home [which was still Birmingham in those days].