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Home » Culture

Why does ketchup taste different in Canada?

Submitted by on May 13, 2009 – 9:03 amNo Comment

heinzketchup2-1Last week, we reported on the Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake, a PR creation dreamed up in honor of Heinz Canada’s 100th birthday.

But the important ketchup question for many Americans who relocate to Canada is “Why does the ketchup taste different?

When my family first moved to Canada, one of the first things that my daughters noticed was that the ketchup didn’t taste the same as it did back in the U.S.

When I looked at the bottle, it seemed just like the Heinz ketchup we used to buy in the States, except that the package said, “Ketchup Aux Tomates” instead of plain old Tomato Ketchup. But the kids insisted that it wasn’t the same.

“And crackers taste different, too,” my girls told me, pointing to a familiar box of saltines.

How could this be?

It turns out that many U.S. companies have Canadian subsidiaries that, in many cases, do their own manufacturing. And even when the products are sold by the same names, the ingredients can be different.

Take those saltines. Nabisco makes them in the U.S. and sells them under the “Premium” label. In Canada, the brand is Christie Premium Plus. Both Christie and Nabisco are owned by Kraft.

The ingredients in the U.S. version are enriched flour, soybean oil, salt, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, malted barley flour, baking soda, and vegetable monoglycerides. The Canadian saltines are made with enriched wheat flour, soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed oil, salt, sodium bicarbonate, malt flour, yeast, amylase, protease, and sourdough culture.

Similar? Sure. The same? No.

And the ketchup? According to Heinz Canada, “…although Heinz has one basic recipe, there are differences – depending in which country it is made in. For example, ketchup users in Canada, England, Australia and Venezuela like their ketchup a bit sweeter than ketchup users in the U.S. and Mainland Europeans, who tend to like their ketchup a bit spicier.”

So even though Heinz’ slogan says, “If it isn’t Heinz, it isn’t ketchup,” in Canada, it can still be Heinz without being exactly the same ketchup.

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