11) Sir Kensington from Ketchup Taste Test: Is Heinz Really Best? (Slideshow)

Ketchup Taste Test: Is Heinz Really Best? (Slideshow)

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Jane Bruce

11) Sir Kensington

This new brand of “gourmet scooping ketchup” is a high-end product made with interesting ingredients like onion, cilantro, and honey. It also contains less sugar and salt than traditional ketchups. Our tasters found that it had an unappealing appearance and texture, and that it was “too pasty.” Several tasters claimed outright that it “isn’t ketchup.” “It has an interesting flavor, but it just doesn’t say ‘ketchup’ to me,” said another.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 15
Sodium: 95 milligrams
Sugar: 2 grams
Price: $7.99/ 11 ounces

Jane Bruce

10) Ballymaloe

The Ballymaloe House and Cookery School in southeastern Ireland produces this all-natural ketchup that’s based on an old family recipe, and it contains only tomato, vinegar, onions, sugar, yellow raisins, salt, mustard seed, and spices. Our tasters also had a hard time thinking of this as ketchup, and it reminded some of a sweet chili sauce, or a mix of barbecue sauce and ketchup. They also found it to be a touch too sweet, but wouldn’t rule it out as a steak sauce instead of a good accompaniment to fries.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 30
Sodium: 90 milligrams
Sugar: 6 grams
Price: $4.99/ 8.5 ounces

Jane Bruce

9) Brad’s Organic

A mixture of tomato purée, sugar, white vinegar, onion powder, and spices, Brad’s Organic ketchup didn’t fare very well. Our tasters thought it looked and tasted more like barbecue sauce than ketchup, and it was overwhelmingly vinegary and sour, unbalanced with sweetness. The watery and lumpy texture was also off-putting to some.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 15
Sodium: 150 milligrams
Sugar: 2 grams
Price: $3.99/ 24 ounces

Jane Bruce

8) 365

Whole Foods’ house brand wasn’t a big winner either. While a couple tasters found that it tastes “healthy in a good way” and were fans of the bright color, the texture was a bit grainy and pasty, and it was too sweet for some.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 20
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Sugar: 4 grams
Price: $1.99/ 24 ounces

Jane Bruce

7) Del Monte

Several of our tasters identified the corn syrup in the ketchup right away, and while it was thick, had a nice color, a nice tomato flavor and vinegar kick, it was a bit dull and simply “nothing special.”

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 15
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Sugar: 3 grams
Price: $1.89/ 24 ounces

Jane Bruce

6) Heinz

Heinz delivered the biggest shocker of the taste test by falling squarely in the middle of the pack. The standard-bearer for all things ketchup for the past century, several tasters thought that it tasted “artificial,” was too tart, didn’t taste like high-quality tomatoes were used, and didn’t strike a good balance between vinegar and sugar. On the other end of the spectrum, though, several tasters could identify it as Heinz right off the bat, and deemed it “what ketchup should taste like.” And the debate rages on…

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 20
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Sugar: 4 grams
Price: $2.59/ 20 ounces

Jane Bruce

5) McDonald’s

Plenty of packets of this ketchup came with the fries, so it made perfect sense to include it in our test. Many people don’t realize that the ketchup served at McDonald’s is made exclusively for them, and not sold in any retail locations. It’s developed as much of a cult following as the fries, and is certainly beloved. Our tasters enjoyed the “bright” flavor but were torn due to the fact that it’s a lot more vinegary than sugary. “More vinegar than tomato,” said one taster. If you like your ketchup nice and tangy, you might want to stop in and grab some packets.

Serving Size: 1 packet
Calories: 10
Sodium: 100 milligrams
Sugar: 2 grams
Price: n/a

Jane Bruce

4) Full Circle

This organic ketchup is made by Full Circle, a health-oriented company that produces foods including pasta, cereal, and snacks as well as cleaning products and vitamin supplements. Their ketchup had a classic and natural flavor, and our tasters detected hints of brown sugar and molasses. As opposed to McDonald’s, the sweet component was a bit more prominent than the vinegar, but overall it was still well-balanced.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 20
Sodium: 210 milligrams
Sugar: 4 grams
Price: $3.19

Jane Bruce

3) Trader Joe’s

Of all the organic ketchups on the market, the one sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s was our favorite. The flavor was pleasantly tangy due to a nice hit of vinegar, but it was rounded out by just the right amount of sugar. “You can tell that this was made with high-quality tomatoes,” one taster noted, and another compared it favorably to barbecue sauce or tomato sauce, “but in a good way.”

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 15
Sodium: 150 milligrams
Sugar: 2 grams
Price: $1.99

Jane Bruce

2) Key Food

The unfortunate thing about store brands is that it’s impossible to tell what company produced it. Either way, the ketchup sold as the store brand at local New York supermarket chain Key Food was, quite surprisingly, a winner, and it very well might be the store brand at your supermarket chain too. “This tastes like solid ketchup,” one taster said, and many were taken by its bright vinegar flavor and good sugar-to-vinegar ratio. While we thought that it might have been the same brand as our winner with a new coat of paint, Forbes tells us that “if a big brand like Heinz or Hunts decided to sell private label, it will make soup or pasta sauce, not ketchup. Companies want to expand their business, not destroy the existing one.” The real company behind this ketchup may be a mystery, but whoever you are, we salute you.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 20
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Sugar: 4 grams
Price: $1.99

Jane Bruce

1) Hunt’s

The Heinz v. Hunt’s battle has been raging for years, but the offering from Hunt’s was a runaway winner in our taste test. Our tasters found this ketchup to be just about perfect, from the color and rich texture to a spot-on balance between sugar, vinegar, and salt. It was inoffensive to the max, sitting back and not overpowering the fries in any way, just giving them room to do their thing. And Hunt’s ketchup does its thing very, very well.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 20
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Sugar: 4 grams
Price: $1.99

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Ketchup Taste Test: Is Heinz Really Best? (Slideshow)

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