In early August 2023, a tweet was viewed nearly 5 million times that showed two bottles of Heinz' standard tomato ketchup product. One of the bottles was filled with ketchup, while the second bottle purportedly represented the amount of sugar contained in the popular condiment.
The tweet claimed, "Powerful visual shows how much sugar is in 400ml of Heinz Ketchup. No wonder I feel sick when I consume a whole bottle."
powerful visual shows how much sugar is in 400ml of heinz ketchup. no wonder i feel sick when i consume a whole bottle. pic.twitter.com/4dIvee8h7k
— jos (@josiahhughes) August 1, 2023
We reached out to Kraft Heinz, the owner of the product, to ask about the tweet, but did not hear back after two days. This story will be updated if we receive a response in the future.
To check the facts, we purchased two bottles of Heinz' ordinary U.S. ketchup product in 14-ounce bottles. We also referenced the nutrition information on the product label.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup, a staple in many households, included in its ingredients list both high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup.
According to the product label, its nutrition information was broken down into 23 servings per bottle, with one serving size equaling one tablespoon, or 17 grams.
Multiplying 23 servings by 17 grams equaled around 391 grams of ketchup in one 14-ounce bottle.
The nutrition label for the 14-ounce bottle specified that each serving contained four grams of added sugar. Therefore, 23 servings of the product would equal 92 grams of sugar. The vast majority of the product's sugar content comes from both high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, both of which are liquids.
As one Reddit user pointed out, there is potentially a "volume versus weight" argument here to be had about the space that exists between individual sugar granules. Also, as some readers might point out in our social media comments, while the bottle does contain 92 grams of sugar, ketchup is a product that's slowly consumed over a number of weeks or months, not in one day like with high-sugar soft drinks.
One empty, 14-ounce Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottle weighs one ounce, according to our measurement with a scale. After weighing out 92 grams of sugar, we dumped the granules into the bottle. The following picture showed close to the same outcome as the comparison in the popular tweet.
Aside from Heinz' standard ketchup product, the company also offers several other varieties for consumers who might be looking for an alternative.
For example, Heinz' Tomato Ketchup with No Sugar Added contains "stevia leaf extract," an ingredient that's not found in other ketchup products made by the company. It does not contain added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or other corn syrup, according to the product label.
Another product, Simply Tomato Ketchup with No Artificial Sweeteners, contains cane sugar, also with no corn syrup added.
Meanwhile, Tomato Ketchup with a Blend of Veggies contains sugar, again with no corn syrup added. The vegetables included in this special variety were listed as butternut squash puree, carrot puree, and of course tomato concentrate.
On this same subject, In The Know previously published a look at the apparent differences in ingredients between Heinz' standard ketchup being sold in the U.S. versus Canada. One big difference: The Canadian version doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup.