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Review: Heinz Tomato Ketchup “57”


Posted April 1, 2008 by

Full Review

Ingredients: Tomato concentrate made from Red Ripe Tomatoes, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion powder, Natural Flavoring. All with a Drip Free Valve!

I used to teach high school history, so when I was walking by this bottle in the grocery store I just stopped: Here was a sauce that’s been made since 1869, a piece of Americana, so I just had to grab it. I’ll admit I was more drawn to the deep red color of it, and the handy convenience of a “drip free” valve (a genius innovation whose time is way over due). But I have to tell you, after so much anticipation and getting this sauce home, I was more than a little disappointed.

When I got home, I took out me trusty tasting spoon and just poured it on. This sauce is thick, thick like mustard, and it held well to the spoon. The first whiff I got when I smelled it was a combination of sugar and vinegar. Skeptical, I poured on, taking advantage of the Stay Clean Cap/Drip Free Valve. Now here was a shining light: You can use this cap to write messages, or draw funny faces to entertain your kids. But the real beauty of this cap is that with the right amount of pressure you can send streams of this sauce up to eight feet long. Which is what I found out after I tasted this stuff.

If you’ve ever read my reviews in the past then you know I’m a Hardened Habbie Head, the guy who once ate a fresh habanero for a jar of mayonnaise (don’t ask, alcohol was involved). Long story short, I like my sauces hot. This sauce wasn’t the case. True traditional ketchup (kats-up, or sometimes spelled cats-chup) is a tomato based, heavily seasoned sauce that is thought to have originated from India. The initial flavors that I got from this were tomato, then sugar, then vinegar, with a hint of salt. So I took another taste of my spoon and tasted, again, tomato (though more ripe), sugar, vinegar, and followed by salt. No onion, and certainly no spice, as listed on the label. What the Hell?

Now I understand that some producers are out there making milder sauces for the hot sauce newbies, but this is a step beyond ridiculous. Granted, this did taste ok on French fries, and pretty good on onion rings, but I had to add other hot sauces to this just to get a meager kick from it. What are they trying to push here? I don’t know, but my kids put this stuff on just about everything, and my wife says it tastes pretty good on hash browns. I guess each their own (but that doesn’t always make them right). So on to my Five Point Scale.

Appearance: 4-Certainly a good looking sauce in a nice, very squeezy plastic bottle. Again, with the right amount of pressure you can get streams of up to (but not limited to when using a Ford Taurus) eight feet. I also like the blood red color.

Aroma: 3-Almost like tomatoes, except I smell a lot of sweetness also. There is lingering vinegar when I sniff really hard. Oh wait, scratch that one. We just had our kitchen cleaned (tomato stains).

Taste: 3- If it wasn’t for the ingredients list, I’d swear I was tasting just tomatoes and sugar. Albeit red ripe tomatoes-look at the color again-but a little too sweet for my veteran palate.

Heat: 0-I try took look for an upside in everything, even the Police Academy movies, but I’m sorry, this sauce sucked for heat. My two year old daughter often enjoys a little taste or two of hot sauces, but this one she just ate up like it was nothing. What does that tell you? I’d get more heat if I were to lick an ice cube.

Overall: 3.3- For a sauce that’s been around since 1869, you would think these people had a clue as to what they were doing. But they don’t. It’s a decent sauce, for what it’s worth ($1.89 for 20 ounces), and you can buy it anywhere. I guess this would be the ultimate sauce for newbies. And contrary to popular belief, the “57” that adorns this bottle is not the 57th attempt at making it. No, the truth in the matter was in 1870 Heinz founder H. J. Heinz predicted that there would someday be 57 states in America that his sauce would be sold and bought in. Little piece of trivia for ya. So until next time, treat every meal like it was your last!

H.J. Heinz Co., L.P.
Pittsburgh, PA. 15222

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog



    April Fools!


    [Comment ID #133454 Quote]

    Now it makes sense!
    Good one Louie!


    It’s a bit of “April Fools” that they have you believing it is tomato based 😉 Most ketchups are sugar based. This is a prime example of the government allowing (us) manufacturers to put one over on you by differentiating between all the different sugars. Corn syrup & high fructose corn syrup are both ‘sugar’ and if called as such, they would be the first ingredient, not tomato. You’ll even see white sugar added to some ketchups in addition to the two corn syrups! A very popular BBQ sauce here abouts has: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, AND brown sugar. Wow.


    Got me too! I’m thinking…WTF, are we out of hot sauces that still need to be tasted? Why are we wasting time on ketchup? Good one!
    BTW, I love mixing Tabasco and Heinz Ketchup for my eggs, hash browns or fries.


    those mess free caps suck, you have to squeeze them hard enough to get the catchup out and as soon as the little rubber things flip out allowing the catchup to squirt you squezing it so hard a high powerd stream of catchup blastes your plate giving you 10x the amount you wanted. i hate those caps and i always cut them out.


    [Comment ID #133475 Quote] Ditto on the squeeze caps. have had some disasters


    Other than some of the products on thinkgeek.com this was the only entertaining bit of April fools on the internet this year. Maybe I’m just getting old.


    What I wanna know is who makes McDonalds ketchup??? That stuff is the best ketchup around!!!


    That was a great bit of trivia on the “57”. Thanks Louie.


    [Comment ID #133529 Quote]

    They make their own.


    [Comment ID #133529 Quote]

    I don’t think I’ve seen this here in the states yet…



    doh, April Fools, Ahhhhh, now I get it !!


    Whataburger has the best ketchup…zingy, spicy, and thick. I’d buy it if they sold it in stores, for sure.

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