Blog: Heinz recipe change browns off HP Sauce lovers
Dean Best | 12 September 2011
HJ Heinz is facing anger in the UK for its decision to lower the amount of salt in its HP Sauce. However, amid the criticism, the US food company deserves some sympathy.
In November, Heinz cut the added salt in the HP Sauce on sale in the UK, in line with similar moves it had made on other products in a number of markets around the world. Of course, food manufacturers, facing government and consumer concern about the link between salt and cardiovascular disease, have been lowering salt across a range of products. Heinz should be applauded for continuing its work to reformulate its products.
However, it is equally obvious that one consequence of cutting salt is the impact on taste. Consumers are quick to complain if the taste of their 'much-loved' brands have changed. With social media booming, those complaints grow louder, quickly.
But, given Heinz changed the recipe in November, what has led to what the UK media has called the "online fury" against the company?
According to reports over the weekend and today, comments from celebrity chef Marco Pierre White (apparently, he has labelled the salt-lite HP sauce "disgusting") has prompted complaints across the Web.
"Leave HP sauce alone! It's worked perfectly fine for years & years. Nanny state." said one Twitter user, summing up a somewhat over-the-top reaction across social media networks.
Heinz insisted the change had been made to meet voluntary government targets and consumer demand.
"In line with changes in consumer tastes, we have long been committed to reducing added salt in recipes to meet voluntary targets with support from consumer health campaigners. This very minor change to our famous recipe was made in November last year, and rigorous consumer tests confirmed there was no significant difference in flavour between the old and new recipes," the company said. "HP Sauce still tastes great."
Food manufacturers have long faced criticism for the levels of salt, sugar and fat in their products. Now, a grumble from a high-profile chef - and some frenzied online comment later - has left Heinz facing some unfair criticism of a different kind. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
To follow on from our earlier notice and after some hard work from our technical team, just-food is back live after today's power outage....
Much of the UK has felt the impact of Storm Doris today - and just-food's head office has been no exception....
- General Mills sales woes continue - analysis
- Why personalisation will take-off in US food
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Analysis: Chocolate sector's deforestation pledge
- Unilever 'lining up spreads sale'
- UK own-label firm Park Cakes sold in MBO
- Kraft Heinz cuts jobs in US, Canada
- Immigration crackdown "risk" for US dairy industry
- BRF plant suspended amid bribery allegations