Ketchup is the go to sauce with many meals, check most fridges (or cupboards) across the UK and you'll find one bottle or another sat there. Whether you're having it with chips, on a toasty or even in a sandwich, it's clear that ketchup has found a place in the hearts of many.
Around one fifth of people in the UK choose to have ketchup with their meals, skirting ahead of the nation's second favourite Mayonnaise and leaving the third place, English Mustard, behind by a country mile. Ketchup, or tomato sauce, is something we all try at least once in our lives.
Ever since 1812 when ketchup was first invented, the sauce has provided a reliable flavour boost to any meal we could reasonably apply it to, and while what it's acceptable to apply it to has been long contested, it's is certainly not going anywhere anytime soon.
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But with supermarket prices on the up, a 460g squeezy bottle of Heinz will currently set you back a mighty £3.40 from Tesco or Sainsbury's, so we thought it would be a good idea to try some cheaper alternatives.
As such we decided to find out which brand was truly the best, picking a grand total of seven different varieties including household names and the major supermarkets own offerings, enough to keep me in the red stuff for months to come. Throwing together a plate of chips, I tried each one to determine who the king of ketchup really was - and importantly if a cheaper alternative was just as good.
In a bid to cover everything possible, I picked up Heinz and Hellman's to represent the big leagues, and offerings from Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, M&S and Tesco - here's what I thought.
£3.40 - 460g
I thought it best to start with my usual ketchup of choice, as I'm sure it is for many people. Heinz is the old reliable of the ketchup world, pair it up with some American mustard and you'll get the best hot dog man can make.
Flavour wise it focuses towards the sweeter side of the sauce, offering a rich tomato flavour well balanced with the overall sweetness. Heinz's bright red hue is what we expect all ketchup to be, as such it's always going to be towards the top of list when it comes to ratings.
£1.25 - 450g
Not only does Morrisons drop significantly down in price from Heinz, it drops significantly down in quality as well. Morrisons own brand ketchup is one of the darkest on the list, giving it more a red/brown hue.
The darker colour seems to come from the heavier texture of this sauce, which feels more like a puree than the sauce it's meant to be and could be just as easily slapped on a pizza base. Not only that but Morrisons ketchup left me with a rather unpleasant after taste that hung around at the back of my mouth for rather too long.
90p - 495g
Another darker offering on the ketchup front, M&S tend to try and add a bit more of a twist to their classics than most and that seems to be the case here. Similar to Morrisons, M&S offer a thicker sauce that could also be used as a puree, however unlike Morrisons, the M&S version is actually nice.
I'd honestly be tempted to use this sauce on my pizza, I'd certainly be inclined to pick it up over many of the other options over this list just for general use. It does leave a heavy aftertaste, which is certainly more inclined towards the tomato than the sweet, which personally I find better.
75p - 550g
Asda offers among the best for value and sticks with the classic rich red in colour. In many ways this supermarket's own ketchup certainly seeks to follow in the footsteps of Heinz, but it doesn't quite get there.
It does, however, get points for trying as Asda's sauce is rich in flavour which lingers in the best way, offering that tame sweetness that isn't overpowering. For the price Asda is best for value on this list, not sacrificing much to be able to offer the sauce at this low price.
£1 - 555g
Tesco does not live up to it's nearest rival though, offering only marginally more for 25% more on the price. Tesco's ketchup is rich in colour but light on flavour, with not much going on inside the bottle.
This ketchup feels like a watered down Heinz, you can get hints of that taste in there, but you're going to have use more to get it. It also seems to have an odd tang to it, like a few too many drops of vinegar found their way into the bottle, don't get me wrong it's usable, but you probably wouldn't pick up unless there were no other options available.
69p - 625g
The cheapest option overall, Aldi once again offers the best bang for your buck, sadly though, while you may save a few pennies you will lose out on taste and quality. Aldi's sauce is a little on the runnier side of these offering, and while it does come with a full sugar option, sadly there wasn't one available when I went looking.
That's not to say it's all bad, this sauce was certainly useable, and if I was hosting a large event and wanted to keep prices down I'd consider going this way. With prices going the way they are, perhaps sacrificing a little flavour is worth the cost saving.
£1.50 - 430g
I'd heard a lot about Hellman's before trying it, despite it being the big rival of Heinz I hadn't given it a go before. Hellman's ketchup falls well and truly into the dark variety, and the best comparison I can make for it is McDonald's ketchup, even though they use Heinz.
Quite how Hellman's out-Heinzs Heinz I'm not quite sure, but this sauce is inherently more edible than its big named rival. This sauce doesn't seem to leave as much of a linger after, and lets you get back on with the next nip - it's the clear winner overall.
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