TESCO removes Heinz products, but are own-brand beans and ketchup good


Does it have to be Heinz? After brand pulled favourites like tomato ketchup from Tesco shelves in row over prices, FEMAIL blind taste tests own-brand versions to see if they can measure up (and the result couldn’t be clearer!)

  • FEMAIL has tested out Tesco own-brand condiments vs. Heinz popular products
  • The supermarket has slashed favourite items like ketchup over price row
  • Tesco said it would offer ‘plenty of alternatives’ to customers  such as own brand
  • Customers can save as much as £1.35 per product by switching
  • But can own-brand options measure up in a blind taste test? 

News that top Heinz products have been pulled from Tesco in a row over price increases will strike fear into the hearts of shoppers who are fiercely loyal to their branded ketchup and baked beans. 

The US brand has temporarily suspended supplies of its key products to the supermarket giant over the row, which is already leading to gaps in shelves in Tesco stores.

As the cost of living rises in the UK, Tesco said it ‘will not pass on unjustifiable price increases’ to its customers.

A spokesperson for the retailer also said its customers will soon have ‘plenty of alternatives’ to the Heinz favourites – including their own brand versions, with customers able to save as much as £1.35 on a bottle of their favourite condiment if they opt for the supermarket version. 

But will that pass muster with those who recoil in horror at the thought of supermarket ketchup on their chips?  

FEMAIL has blind tested some popular sauces from the Heinz brand and compared them to Tesco’s own offerings, and baked beans, to see if you can actually tell the difference.

Heinz condiments are a staple in many kitchen cupboards (or fridges) in the UK - but after a row with Tesco over prices, the products will soon disappear from the supermarket's shelves

Heinz condiments are a staple in many kitchen cupboards (or fridges) in the UK – but after a row with Tesco over prices, the products will soon disappear from the supermarket’s shelves

Tesco has insisted there are 'plenty of alternatives' for customers missing Heinz products while it temporarily suspends the US brand's products from its shelves

Tesco has insisted there are ‘plenty of alternatives’ for customers missing Heinz products while it temporarily suspends the US brand’s products from its shelves

Tomato ketchup

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a staple in most household cupboards/fridges - but how did it taste compared to Tesco's own brand version?

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a staple in most household cupboards/fridges – but how did it taste compared to Tesco’s own brand version?

Heinz Top Down Squeezy Tomato Ketchup Sauce 460G £2 vs Tesco Tomato Ketchup 555g, 65p

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a staple in many kitchen cupboards (or fridges, depending on preference) up and down the country. 

But as it disappears from Tesco’s shelves, can the supermarket’s own alternative cut it?

I asked a happy helper to pour out Tesco’s own brand ketchup and Heinz’s version into two identical dishes while I turned away, and then compared the two.

To carry out my experiment I used microwaveable chips, which conveniently taste of absolutely nothing, so as to absorb the full flavour of each sauce.

As a Heinz Tomato Ketchup fiend, I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the two sauces tasted – and I struggled to identify which was which.

Both tangy and sweet, each condiment provided a lovely layer of flavour to the entirely bland chip. 

However one sauce was a little sweeter than the other, and it appeared to be ever-so-slightly thicker too.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of very thick condiments, so while it was a very close call, the heavier ketchup fell down the ranks.

I also was a bit less keen on the taste of the thicker ketchup, which although pleasant, bordered on being a bit too sweet.

After a little bit of deliberation, I settled on the more viscous and slightly less sweet option – which ended up being the classic Heinz flavour. 

 Winner: Heinz Tomato Ketchup (by a small margin)

Barbecue sauce

Presented with two BBQ sauces, the difference was striking - and one certainly came out on top

Presented with two BBQ sauces, the difference was striking – and one certainly came out on top

Heinz BBQ Sauce 480g, £2.30 vs Tesco Bbq Sauce 440G, £1

Presented with two dishes of brown, sticky and sugary barbecue sauce, I had no idea which was which – but there was definitely a difference between them.

While one of the dishes contained a smoother, more viscous sauce, the other seemed filled with a congealed mixture that, frankly, I wasn’t particularly keen to taste.

The smoother sauce definitely came out on top, with a sweet and smoky flavour that went down a treat.

Sadly the taste of the more congealed sauce lived up to its appearance and didn’t make for a particularly enjoyable condiment. 

It felt far too thick, wasn’t particularly sweet and left an unusual smoky aftertaste that left me gasping for a glass of water.

I also couldn’t help but wonder what on earth was in the thicker sauce to have created that texture. In fact, after I dipped my bland chip into the thicker sauce, it left an indent that didn’t fade afterwards.

This wasn’t a close one – the smoother sauce came out on top by a long way – and it turned out to be Heinz.

Winner: Heinz Sweet & Sticky BBQ Sauce

Mayonnaise

Getting stuck in! It was fairly easy to tell which mayonnaise was which, however they were both fairly decent options

Getting stuck in! It was fairly easy to tell which mayonnaise was which, however they were both fairly decent options

Heinz Mayonnaise Seriously Good 540G, £2 vs Tesco Mayonnaise 500ml, 85p 

I’ve always opted for Hellman’s mayonnaise, and wasn’t even aware that Heinz offered its own version.

Nonetheless I asked my helper to pour out some Heinz mayo and spoon some of the Tesco version into dishes.

Here is where I have to confess that my blind test wasn’t as ‘blind’ as it perhaps should have been – as it was quite clear from looking at the two dishes which mayonnaise was which.

Whereas the Heinz sauce had come out of a squeezy bottle, the Tesco sauce came from a glass jar – and they looked different in their dishes.

Nonetheless I suspended my judgment and dipped the flavourless chips into each dish of mayonnaise.

I’m pleased to report both sauces were fairly enjoyable – and I’d happily have chosen either of them. 

While the Tesco condiment was definitely thicker, it was salty and creamy and did a decent job.

Although the Heinz mayo was more watery, it certainly wasn’t lacking in flavour and had a slightly more subtle salty taste that definitely hit the spot. 

As a lighter sauce, it went down much more easily. 

Although the taste of Tesco mayonnaise was nice enough, I don’t think I could have eaten much more of it seeing as it was so thick and heavy.

Just as with the previous sauces I had tried, it was Heinz that came out on top.

Winner: Heinz Seriously Good Mayo

Salad cream

Did I mention I'm not a great lover of salad cream? Nonetheless, one of the options was significantly more palatable than the other

Did I mention I’m not a great lover of salad cream? Nonetheless, one of the options was significantly more palatable than the other

Heinz Salad Cream 425G, £2 vs Tesco Salad Cream 450Ml, 90p 

Time for another confession – I cannot stand salad cream.

This was a taste test in which I had to close my eyes, pinch my nose and deal with the taste of something I intensely dislike.

So it was to my surprise that one of the sauces I tried wasn’t all that bad – with a mild, creamy flavour that didn’t make me wince.

Of course, the other sauce was deeply unpleasant and I didn’t enjoy eating it at all, but one out of two isn’t bad.

Whereas the first salad cream was lighter and much smoother to palate, the sweet but sour taste of the second was too much for my tastebuds and it felt almost bitter to eat. 

Interestingly the texture of both condiments was pretty much exactly the same, making it tricky to tell which was which. 

As it turns out, the salad cream I didn’t hate was Tesco’s own brand, which went down much more smoothly.

I’m still not a lover of salad cream, but perhaps it was just Heinz’s version that wasn’t for me.

Winner: Tesco Salad Cream

Baked beans

The Tesco baked beans weren't bad at all, but as someone who is fairly fussy about the product, I could tell instantly which was which

The Tesco baked beans weren’t bad at all, but as someone who is fairly fussy about the product, I could tell instantly which was which

Tesco Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce 420G 40p vs Heinz Baked Beans, £1

I’m fairly fussy when it comes to baked beans and rarely consider buying anything other than Heinz. 

As a keen runner, it’s usually a breakfast of egg and beans that sets me up for a long race – and for comfort, a dinner of beans on toast can’t be beaten.

Heinz Baked Beans were always going to be difficult to beat, and while Tesco put up a good fight, it was never quite going to compete.

I identified the Heinz product almost immediately, and knew it was my favourite instantly.

The sweet, sugary tomato sauce of Heinz Baked means was unmistakable and filled my mouth with a warm hug. 

In fairnes to Tesco its alternative wasn’t bad – but as with lots of different brands of baked beans, the sauce was the giveaway.

It was still sweet and tangy, but Tesco’s sauce is slightly more watery than the Heinz version, meaning the flavour isn’t quite as intense.

For me, when it comes to baked beans, it simply has to be Heinz.

Winner: Heinz Baked Beans

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