Hunt’s vs Heinz: What’s the Difference Between the Two Ketchup Titans?

I once heard ketchup compared to a great white shark—both are so meticulously designed, so perfectly adapted for their environment, that they have been able to remain largely unchanged for a long, long time. The great white shark is an apex predator and ketchup is an apex condiment. It’s one of those food items that’s terrific just the way it is. Of course, there are those who can’t stand the taste, such as my girlfriend, and most of France, but for those of us who are ketchup obsessed, there’s almost no such thing as too much of the red stuff. And, when it comes down to it, there are really only two ketchup brands: Hunt’s and Heniz. So, what’s the difference between Heinz and Hunt’s ketchup?

First, let’s look at the ingredient lists for Hunt’s ketchup vs Heinz. Hunt’s contains “Tomato Concentrate Made From Vine Ripened Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Less Than 2% Of: Onion Powder, Natural Flavors.” Conversely, Heinz ketchup contains “Tomato Concentrate From Red Ripe Tomatoes, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring.” If you’re reading closely, you might notice that those two lists are almost identical. So, let’s take a look at the nutritional info. A tablespoon of both Hunt’s and Heinz contains 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of sugar. But, aha! Heinz contains a whopping 4 grams of sugar while Hunt’s has only a paltry 3 grams of sugar. Okay, admittedly, those are also pretty similar.

While the ingredients may be almost identical, the flavor profiles are absolutely different. That extra gram of sugar in Heinz is something that you can actually taste. Heinz ketchup is sweeter and more tomato-y, while Hunt’s ketchup has a more vinegar-forward flavor. Personally, it seems pretty clear that Heinz is the winner (it also took the top spot in Sporked’s best ketchup ranking). I love an underdog, but Hunt’s simply doesn’t have the perfect mix of salty and sweet with a powerful but not overwhelming tomato-ness that makes Heinz the best in the biz. 

That being said, if you avoid Heinz ketchup because it’s just too sweet, Hunt’s might be a better option. Also, if you’re eating fish and chips, it’s possible that the heightened vinegariness of Hunt’s will complement the strong, salty flavors. And, if you’re pinching pennies, Hunt’s is significantly less costly than its competitor. 

Ultimately, there are no wrong answers when it comes to ketchup, as long as we can all agree that both these brands are superior to the dreaded Del Monte variety. *Shudder.*

best ketchup

Best Ketchup Taste Test

Heinz may be number one, but it’s certainly not the only ketchup we recommend. Find out where Hunt’s falls in our best ketchup ranking as well as some of the other top ketchup brands.

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *