Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brand Wars: Ketchup

Ketchup is the greatest vegetable known to mankind. It has a multitude of uses, including topping hamburgers, smothering fries, and coating weiners. Heck, in some parts of the country we serve it up for breakfast with a side of eggs and some toast. (This is the American variation of the classic British breakfast--we just replace the fried tomato with ketchup and toss it down on a sticky diner table next to some day-old black coffee.)

Since ketchup is such an integral part of US culture, my roommate and I took it upon ourselves to determine which ketchup rises above all the others and proves itself to be king of condiments.

We started by rallying up three different kinds of ketchup:



...and knockoff, courtesy of Walmart.

First of all, I'd like to inform you that based on packaging alone, Hunts takes the cake. (I do not, however, recommend putting ketchup in cake. That would turn into a whole Rachel-Green's-Thanksgiving-Trifle incident and the story would rival even that of my F-Bomb Cake.) The Heinz packaging is not only upside-down and neckless, but it has recently been equipped with a fart nozzle that makes lots of...entertaining...noises as you squeeze. The Great Value brand, while quite similar to the Hunts bottle, has a stubborn inner freshness seal and the label was on the flimsier side. Ten million Whose Line is it Anyway points to Hunts.

Luckily for you (and my word count) this contest isn't really about packaging. It's about flavor, and let me tell you, this was a tasty test.

My roommate and I whipped out the deep frier and dunked fresh, steamy fries into three different dishes of ketchup, carefully analyzing each one. Our initial impression was that they all tasted like ketchup, which is a good thing, but we had to take our time and eat as much ketchup as necessary to detect the individual nuance of each brand. This is a hardship I am willing to endure for you lovely blog readers. You're welcome.

A and B were definitely the tangier of the group and were unnervingly similar.

C was notably thinner than A or B and offered a milder flavor. We decided it was inferior to the others and took it off the table.

This left us with contenders A and B, side by side, battling it out. We dipped and we dunked and we swished and we spit. (Not really. That would be a waste of perfectly good ketchup.) Finally, after much deliberation, we came to our conclusion.

While the differences were almost imperceptible, we liked the lingering tangy punch left by contestant A and declared it the greatest ketchup of all time.

Then we revealed which one it was.

Are you ready for this?

Yes, that's right. The best ketchup of them all is mega-cheap knockoff ketchup from Walmart. Imagine my roommate's surprise when he discovered the very ketchup he had scolded me for purchasing beat out his beloved Heinz ketchup in a head to head competition that has been known to tear families and even nations apart.

Now that you have been equipped with the knowledge of the greatest ketchup known to man--just in time for barbeque season, no less--go forth and use this knowledge for good! Share your ketchup wisdom with everyone and make sure they know that regardless of its somewhat more cooperative bottle, Hunts got its puny "all natural" ass kicked by some generic Walmart ketchup, and Heinz, despite its prestige, couldn't hold its own against a 98-cent bottle of red paste.

Oh, and just in case your wallet is reading this, the Great Value ketchup truly lives up to its name and offers the lowest price per ounce of any of our three contenders, tipping the scale at just over four cents per ounce. Heinz, on the other hand, will set you back almost ten cents for the same amount. Worth it? I think not.

What's your favorite ketchup? Do you dare defy our highly scientific findings? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I've always had Heinz and never really tried Hunt's or any generic brand for everything. However - Hunt's and Great Value have superior packaging.

  2. I have a bottle of Great Value Ketchup in my fridge as we speak.

    I will go cheap on ketchup. I will go cheap on mustard. But I can't budge on my Best Foods mayo.