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Ketchup revisited- Canadian Heinz vs. Heinz Organic vs. normal Heinz

We happened to have all 3 bottles in our fridge so we did a taste comparison tonight. As previously discussed, Canadian and Organic versions don't use High Fructose corn syrup.

Canadian Heinz- bright and sweet taste- this is the ketchup I remember from all those McDonalds packets of my youth.

Heinz Organic- more complex, almost a molasses flavor, color is a darker red.

Normal Heinz- tasted blah and fake in comparison to the others.

Canadian Heinz and Organic Heinz are pretty similar in ingredients. Both list Tomato paste (or concentrate) first. Canadian's next ingredient is sugar- Organic's next ingredient was vinegar, which makes sense given the difference in taste. Other ingredients were pretty much the same (except organic vs. non-organic ingredients, such as onion powder). However, Organic lists, as its last ingredient "Natural Falvorings".

So if you are a Heinz ketchup purist, get the Canadian version. The only problem is you'll never be able to buy the US version again. If you like the Heinz flavor but don't want it too sweet and like a bit more interesting flavor, get the Organic. And then throw away your "normal" Heinz.

We bought the Canadion version at http://www.canadianfavourites.com/

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  1. Cooks Illustrated just did a taste test...and although Organic Heinz was preferred to regular Heinz ketchup...they said they had "a new winner for their ketchup"..."""HUNTS"""..much preferred...more piquancy, they said....how could this be? thought I.....Heinz dethroned....never...jamais.........so ofcourse I had to buy my first 'foreign' bottle of ketchup (HUNTS) and did a straight up taste test................HUNTS was better, (much better)...brighter, tomato'ier, fruitier, with a note that went straight up the nose!!! Now this was a surprise...I actually tossed away the Heinz bottle...since both were now open, and faced with a choice, I would always choose the one I now preferred.....so out it went..left more room in the fridge.....I'm still alittle amazed...since Heinz was mommy food,.....now I have a new Mommy!

    11 Replies
    1. re: ChowFun_derek

      D*** you Derek. Now I have to go out and buy a bottle of Hunts. That will be four bottles of ketchup sitting in my fridge when the last time I actually owned a bottle of the stuff was about a decade ago.

      With all respect to you, until I try this myself, I refuse to believe Hunts is better than Heinz.

      There's something about the taste of Heinz that no other ketchup, bottled or fancy-dancy, give the same sort of satisfaction.

      BTW, Ya wouldn't be interested in a couple of bottles of banana catsup, would you?

      1. re: rworange

        Sorry...it's like we Chowhounders are "posessed"!!! (or neurotic or both)!
        Thanks for your offer of the banana ketchup....however I did read your post about it..(on ice cream!!!) and I'll pass!

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          The Catsup Chronicles continue ...

          French fries five ways ...

          So I trot out to buy the Hunts catsup. Since I don't want to buy ANOTHER bottle of catsup, I buy McDonalds fries and ask for catsup with them ... sad ... what I'm doing is not going there for the fries, but the catsup.

          Anyway as long as I'm doing a catsup tasting, I throw the banana catsup into the mix ... McFries with five condiments.

          Let's just get the banana catsup out of the way quickly.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          Tasting it side by side with the big three (Heinz, Heinz and Hunts) only accetuated the chemical taste to this stuff.

          Also, it doesn't cling well to fries. It remains quivering in the bowl dodging the fries. You have to sort of chase it around with the fry.

          The regular was REALLY awful ... bottom of the list ... way too sweet and fake tasting. We are talking about dipping a fry in mashed bananas, after all ... with spices ... dyed red.

          The spicy was slightly better, but I could have added my own hot sauce to the tomato catsups and had better results.

          Now about Original Hunts vs. Original Heinz ... I don't really know.

          Hunts has really improved, as Derek said, with a more intense tomato flavor. I suspect in a blind tasting I might even pick this over original Heinz ... YET ...

          As Derek also said, the Hunts had "a note that went straight up the nose!!!"

          That was the thing that hit me when I opened the Hunts bottle and immediately I thought ... Hunts.

          It is the spicing that differentiates the original Heinz and Hunts. I still prefer Heinz spicing, but I have a better appreciation of why Hunts has its fans ... the more intense tomato flavor.

          That being said ... the clear winner is that Organic Heinz.

          It has the intense tomato flavor of Hunts with the Heinz spicing ... and it does not have the high fructuse corn syrup that both original Hunts and Heinz have.

          Hunts compared better with Organic Heinz than ... original Heinz compared to organic Heinz ... in the latter case, original Heinz was just flat and tasteless compared to the organic version.

          When the organic Heinz was eaten back to back with Hunts, an unpleasant strong vinegar taste was accentuated in the Hunts.

          I'm tell you, organic Heinz is so good I think I don't even need food with it. I could probably eat it from a spoon all by itself.

          Organic Heinz is far suprior to any catsup on the market ... and it was less expensive than Hunts.

          Hmmmm ... if I drive to Canada for a bottle of Canadian Heinz, I COULD put that on my "MyChow" page as my longest road trip for food ... nah ... I'll just take Chris's word for it .. or order it on-line.

          Organic Heinz ... simply the best ... so far ... for me.
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. re: rworange

            Oh boy...now I have to buy Organic Heinz and do a comparison with Hunt's...I tell you it's a disease....!
            but we do keep the economy humming!

            1. re: rworange

              You are driving me nuts with this ketchup thing. I have been a Heinz fanatic since I was a kid. I am known for having a burger or fries with my ketchup. I noticed a long time ago that the recipe had changed, I guess when they started using HFCS, but it was still the best.

              Now I am going to have to do a taste test myself. I have a bottle of banana ketchup and some other weird ketchups in my pantry unopened. A result of my addiction to buying condiments and then never having the time to try them all.

              I guess I will have to make a batch of homemade twice cooked fries and do a taste test. I have some just dug two days ago organic potatoes from one of my farmer clients and this way I can kill several tasting tasks at the same time.

              1. re: rworange

                Looking foward to your report JMF

                1. re: rworange

                  I did a taste test just now and I think you hit the nail right on the head with your review. I like the Organic Heinz the best as well.

                  I like the spicing best in the original Heinz but there wasn't as much fruit taste and somewhere in the back a slight bitter flavor, possibly from being cooked too much, or else because the bottle had been opened a week ago and at room temp. I may have to open a fresh bottle and redo my tasting. It's just that I now have all this open ketchup. NOTE: Seven hours later- I opened a new bottle of Heinz Ketchup and did the same taste test again. The fresh bottle of Heinz had a more vinegar and spice taste with no bitter element.

                  The Hunts was more sweet fruit tasting but I found it a bit too fruit and sweet and not enough spice. The aroma turned me off a bit. It was just a bland sweet fruit aroma with no complexity.

                  The Heinz Organic had a good combination of spice and tomato flavor/aroma without being too sweet and no bitter flavors. I think it would be even better with a slight increase in the spice levels. For now it's my new ketchup. I don't believe I am saying this.

                  I am all ketchuped out right now so I will post back at a later time on other ketchups.

                  NOTE: After redoing the taste test I am really have a difficult time deciding between these two versions. The whole flavor of the Organic is better but the spicing of Regular is better.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Thanks for reporting back JMF.

                    >>> It's just that I now have all this open ketchup <<<

                    Tell me about it. I may have to go to the Home Cooking board asking for good recipes that use catsup.

                    However, the organic Heinz is almost all gone. I keep thinking of food I can eat with it.

                    Did you fry up those potatoes?

                    >>> The Hunts was more sweet fruit tasting but I found it a bit too fruit and sweet and not enough spice. The aroma turned me off a bit. It was just a bland sweet fruit aroma with no complexity <<<

                    Yeah, that's EXACTLY it about Hunts. It is that aroma and the rest of what you said. It is better than I remember though.

                    The organic Heinz shines through even more when not doing back to back tasting. There is something about tasting it at the same time with the original Heinz that takes it a micro-bit down.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Okay..the disease struck...I bought a bottle of Heinz Organic ketchup to put up against the Hunts...(I ate so much of them maybe it COULD be a vegetable?)
                      Both alone and on leftover chicken...both were very good..but I have to agree, the Organic was more tart and had a flavor note which lingered, which was definitely my preference...I won't toss the Hunts out (as I did with Heinz regular) but when I use it up it's Organic Heinz for me!

                      1. re: rworange

                        Yeah, but now we all have to try Chef's brand catsup ...

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                        http://www.jacobfruitfield.com/brands...

                        I've been contemplating Del Monte too ... I'm going with vegetable at this point.

                  2. re: ChowFun_derek

                    We buy Hunt's in our house.

                    My wife preferred it and I started using it and I like it, too.

                  3. The One Carb Heinz is good but we have a hell of a time getting any. It flies off the shelves.

                    Did you guys know that, spoonful for spoonful, regular ketchup has more sugar than vanilla ice cream?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: rainey

                      I'm going to have to take a look at that even though I'm addicted to the organic Heinz ... like vanilla ice cream.

                      I'm curious about the salt-free version too. It is my theory that when something is left out, especially salt, it has to be compensated with better ingrediants ... in this case tomatoes ... to up the flavor. At this point all I'm going to do is look at the label for the ingrediants. I haven't eaten this much catsup in years.

                      1. re: rworange

                        I really like the flavor of the Salt Free Heinz, though my spouse hates it. I used it as my main ketchup for several years, but have switched to Heinz Organic for now. Heinz organic RULES!!!

                        As a kid I favored Hunt's over original Heinz hands down. But as I got older I found it too sweet for me and switched to Heinz.

                        So I now carry a bottle of Heinz Organic around with me wherever I go. I've gotten a few nasty looks from the waitstaff, but hey, that's all part of being a 'Hound, right?

                        The only place I DO like the house ketchup is at Whataburger (Texas). Their ketchup is seriously vinegary and is EXCELLENT. I always try to get as many extra ones as they will give me to tide me over at the office and in the car.

                      2. re: rainey

                        That may be - but thankfully I don't eat a whole bowl of Ketchup.

                        1. re: rainey

                          But when was the last time you put two giant scoops of ketchup in a bowl and poured chocolate sauce on it??

                          DT

                        2. rworange, I fried the fresh dug Yukon Gold organic potatoes in an inch of duck fat in a cast iron skillet and put a little kosher salt on them. Not much since I wanted to taste the ketchup.

                          1. Even Pittsburghers (ites?) choose the Heinz organic over the regular!

                            http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06267/...

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Chris VR

                              Thanks for posting that, Chris.

                              The odd thing is that in my taste test, Hunt's did taste better to me than regular Heinz, but in the long run day after day, Hunts gets wearing.

                              Side by side ... Hunt's tastes better than regular Heinz. Over time it just is Heinz ... preferably organic.

                              I just FINALLY finished my bottle of Hunts yesterday and all I could think was "thank goodness'. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't addictive like the organic Heinz which I'm craving. It's that unique Hunt's tomatoey taste that gets annoying. It overwhelms food. It calls attention to itself too much.

                              It also saves me from that wrong-thinking SF Chronicle tasting where Muir Glen placed near the top. That placed at the bottom of this list. Almost tried Muir Glen again, and looked at the ingrediant list ... it listed cloves and for me .... cloves ... ick.

                              1. re: rworange

                                My feelings exactly...like my Hunts, love my Heinz Organic........cloves in ketchup..double ick!

                                1. re: rworange

                                  Whoa, Whoa, Whoa -- cloves are great. Just not in Ketchup!!

                                  I've tried that Muir Glen -- never again.

                                  I've never had American Heinz. But, I agree with the very first post: the Organic and the Canadian Heinz are very similar and I slightly prefer the Organic. Hunt's tastes like sweetened Tomato paste to me -- no complexity, and that's not a good thing for me.

                                  1. re: Atahualpa

                                    Just a personal thing with cloves. When I was young I baked an Easter ham and put too many cloves in it. I can't eat anything with cloves without my stomach turning. Just thinking of that ham right now still makes me slightly ill. A strong clove smell makes me sick. I did have a horchata recently with the slightest suggestion of clove and I liked it so maybe decades later I might be just starting to get over it, but still I'm not going to seek it out.

                                    Thanks for the report about Muir Glen ... I'm so over it now.

                                  2. re: rworange

                                    How about a report of TJ's organic? It could be their private label on another manufacturer's organic line, although you've given me a clue -- I'll look for cloves on the ingredient list and see if it's really Muir Glen with a TJ's label.

                                    Anyway, not being a ketchup afficionado I never really thought about the differences between different ketchup brands. I bought the TJ's Organic because I'm avoiding HFCS and it does taste more tomatoey and spicier than my vague recollections of other ketchups, but I couldn't tell you in what ways it is or isn't like Heinz or Hunts.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Well, first you have to get me into TJ's :-)

                                      Maybe not in this thread but one of the others, someone said the color of TJ's was different from Heinz organic. TJ's was a deeper red. However I don't think it is Muir Glen because people liked it ... other than Chronicle tasters.

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        New Hunts is also a deeper red color than Heinz, and it is thicker...it is better than regular, but Organic even though a paler shade, has deeper flavor and better 'tang'!

                                2. Hmmm - maybe I need to revisit. I didn't care for the Heinz organic 'cause it was too sweet....but trying to buy natural foods so don't want to go with the original. But i LOVE the McDonalds packets.....so I'm confused and wonder if it was something else in the Heinz organic I didn't care for. Perhaps I should try the Canadian.