Third Culture Family

ketchup

Smart Shopping: Ketchup

| 2 Comments

I am probably the world’s most naive food shopper. I only recently found out that food imported from the US can be made differently than the same food, by the same company imported from EU countries.

It all happened one day when I went shopping for ketchup. Sounds like a fairly simple product, but as you can see below, at my local supermarket there are a dozen varieties of ketchup.
ketchup

Out of curiosity I checked the ingredients of the different ketchup bottles and quickly noticed something strange. The bottle of plain Heinz ketchup made in The Netherlands (aka Holland) is made with cane sugar, but Heinz ketchup made in the US uses high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

I understand that the ingredients and recipes for the same food may vary slightly in various countries due to the local preferences in taste. But the ONLY difference in the 2 Heinz ketchups is sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup.

Doesn’t something feel icky about that?

From what I understand high fructose corn syrup is largely used in place of sugar because it’s cheaper to make and is apparently more addictive than sugar. People also end up eating more of a product made with HFCS. So basically food companies use high fructose corn syrup in order to increase their profit.

So what?

High fructose corn syrup is a highly controversial ingredient used in virtually every food from bread to salad dressing and just about every snack food on the shelf. Apparently there isn’t a consensus that HFCS is unhealthier than cane sugar, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest it.

Even if you don’t believe the hype, remember that eating foods that aren’t refined and processed are generally healthier than processed foods. And if you are lucky enough to get a “healthier” version of the same food (for the same price), then why not?

Smart shopping tip

If you’re hungry for some ketchup and are trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup, make sure you take a quick look at the ingredients to check where it was manufactured. If it comes from an EU country like The Netherlands then it probably doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. If it was made in the USA, then it probably does.

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2 Comments

  1. God, I found this so interesting!

    I’m definitely going to checking my shopping for HFCS now & researching it for myself too.

    Thanks!
    Caroline’s latest blog post: Holiday (summer) 2013 – The Faces I shall Miss the MostMy Profile

    • Glad you found it interesting. I feel a bit foolish announcing my naiveté but hopefully it helps someone from standing in front of the ketchup section looking like a crazy person!

      In my case I sat on the floor to examine the ingredients. Crazy lady in aisle 5!

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