Heinz Ketchup With Blend of Veggies - © 2019 Kraft Heinz

Ketchup Conundrum: Which Is The Real Deal? If Either?

Today, I relate the saga of a woman from Canada who lived for a time in the U.S., and chanced to compare ingredient lists on some foods. She was amazed to find that the Canadian and American versions of Heinz Ketchup were significantly different…

Classic Heinz Ketchup bottle - © Stewart Williams

I’ll bet you – like me – thought one bottle of Heinz Ketchup was just like any other. Well we were both wrong.

Canadian TikToker and former personal shopper Ray (@heyyitsrayyyy) was stunned by what she found when she examined two Heinz ketchup bottles — one manufactured in the U.S. and one in Canada — and her findings are going viral.

Ray toted up more than 1.3 million views, 135,000 likes, 8,000 saves and 5,600 comments after she uploaded the video to her account.

According to the front label on both 20 oz. bottles, the product is the same on both sides of the border. But get down to the small print at the bottom of the back label and the dizzying truth is revealed.

Not the same at all

Here, for your inspection, are the two ingredient lists:

Heinz Tomato Ketchup (Canada): Tomato paste (from fresh, ripe tomatoes), sugar, vinegar, salt, spices.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup (America): Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring.

‘Simple’ not simple at all

To complicate things even more, Heinz U.S. also sells a product called Simply Tomato Ketchup. Problem is, its ingredient list is the longest of all three versions of the condiment:

Simply Tomato Ketchup: Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, cane sugar, salt, onion powder, spice, natural flavoring [or] tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, spice, natural flavouring.

Not exactly the same as regional tweaking

Many food products are tweaked yo more closely match regional preferences in flavour and texture. Some are tweaked to conform to regional differences in the kind of ingredients allowed by law.

Take McDonald’s Fries, for example:

World Famous Fries (America): potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt.

(*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.)

McDonald’s Fries (U.K.): potatoes, non-hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed/canola), dextrose (predominantly added at beginning of the potato season).

And to complicate things even further: Here’s the official ingredients list for Canadian McFries – complete with parenthesized ‘translations’ of those multi-syllabic confuse-o-words scientists like to use…

Titanium Dioxide in the headlines

Here’s a classic example of the differences that may exist between regions and jurisdictions when it comes to food ingredients and additives – even seemingly simple ones.

The U.S government is being warned to ban the use of Titanium Dioxide pigment as a food additive. It’s commonly used now in everything from M&Ms and Skittles, to Beyond Meat plant-based chicken tenders, to Chips Ahoy! cookies. Recent scientific studies have shown it is linked to a range of serious health issues and accumulates in the body and organs.

The EU has already banned Titanium Dioxide as a food additive, and a petition has been filed by five major US public health advocacy groups asking the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) to withdraw its approval for TiO2 in the U.S.

That’s how they roll in Processed Food Land…

Now that you’re totally boggled and stuffed with scientific confuse-o-words… It’s up to you to decide what you’re going to eat and what you’re not.

~ Maggie J.