Canadians showed an unusual level of national pride earlier this year … over ketchup.
For those who don't remember this story, Heinz Canada and Leamington, Ontario tomatoes were an ideal match for 90 years. Then, Heinz announced the company wouldn't produce ketchup in Leamington.
Fast forward to the present, French's ketchup is made with Leamington tomatoes. I enjoy Heinz's in Canada because the regular recipe is made with liquid sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose in Canada).
But I like the idea of supporting a Canadian ketchup if French's ketchup is better.
On my last trip to Canada, I ended up with a pair of situations to try French's. While most of the ketchup at Shaw Field in Winnipeg is from Heinz, one vendor had several bottles of French's ketchup. So while watching the minor league baseball Winnipeg Goldeyes lose on a rainy Tuesday night, I got to try the ketchup.
The second place was a bar/restaurant in Regina, Saskatchewan. I asked how long French's had been in place there. My server said they had gone with French's for about 3 weeks. I did follow up with whether the move was patriotic, but she didn't know.
Ketchup can be subjective so I factor that into my consideration. I use Heinz Canada as my baseline for comparison.
French's is sweeter than Heinz in Canada. You might like that difference. Heinz used to have vinegar as the 2nd ingredient; now sugar is #2 and vinegar #3. Still, Heinz isn't as sweet as French's.
While French's was too sweet, the ketchup has quite a bit of flavor for a sweet ketchup. Too many bad ketchups use sweetness, usually high-fructose corn syrup, to mask any ketchup flavor or taste.
The French's ketchup had an aftertaste. This wasn't like a Stevia aftertaste, nothing that serious. The ketchup taste shouldn't last that long.
I would pick French's Canada over any mainstream U.S. ketchup with high-fructose corn syrup, though that is faint praise.
National pride, no matter how noble, won't convert you to a different ketchup. But national pride will make you want to try the new ketchup. Heinz is the dominant market leader but a business decision pushed customers to try the alternative. Even if you win out on taste, you will lose some customers, either through national pride or a better tasting ketchup.
photos credit: me