Last updated: October 25, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox! On burgers, fries, sandwiches and even for breakfast. Tomato sauce is one of the must-have ingredients on the table.

It gives us that contrast of flavours, slightly acidic and sweet. For this reason, in this issue we will talk about ketchup. The recipe as we know it originated in 1876 and since then it has become one of the favourite condiments for young and old all over the world.


  • Ketchup is a dressing produced from concentrated tomato paste and other ingredients. In the following sections you will find some of the history, what makes it up, the differences and what makes ketchup what it is.
  • There are two types of ketchup: original ketchup and ketchup-type ketchup. The latter is distinguished by its lower quality, as well as the use of additives such as thickeners and preservatives, resulting in a more processed product that does not provide the nutritional values.
  • Currently, ketchup is one of the most consumed dressings in the world. Below, we will show you some factors such as types, flavours, packaging and presentations that you can buy, so that you can differentiate between one brand and another.

The best ketchup: Our Picks

Buying guide: what you need to know about ketchup

Now that you know some of the best ketchup options, it's time to show you some factors. With these we hope to encourage users to make a broader and more informed judgement, considering the elements that can make the difference between one option and another.

Ketchup is distinguished mainly by its lower quality than the original ketchup. (Photo: puhhha /

What is ketchup?

Ketchup is a thick, sour and sweet sauce. Made from the concentrated paste of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and some spices are added to give it a very distinctive flavour. However, ingredients such as chilli or garlic can be added to contrast the sweetness.

Its use has expanded throughout the world, making it one of the main condiments consumed. This is largely due to its popularisation through fast food chains, which use it as an indispensable element in several of their products.

What is the origin of ketchup?

It comes from China, specifically from the fish sauce "ketsiap", which was used to accompany meats. This sauce did not contain tomato and was more like a soy sauce. Thanks to the English exporting this product, they began to experiment with the recipe.
In 1876 Henry J. Heinz appropriated this formula and added the tomato

It was not until 1876 that Henry J. Heinz appropriated this formula and added the tomato, creating the recipe we know today. Apart from the use of tomato, Heinz created a formula that resulted in a product with a thicker consistency that lasted longer without perishing.

When is ketchup considered ketchup?

To be considered ketchup, the product must contain a minimum of 12% tomato. As well as a maximum limit of 24% sugars. Currently, ketchup comes in different presentations, as well as flavours, expanding the use and forms of ketchup.

Despite the varieties, any sauce that wishes to be defined as "ketchup" must respect the established limit. Otherwise, they will be considered as "ketchup", which not only lacks the minimum amount of tomatoes, but also the required nutritional values.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ketchup?

We will now show you some of the advantages and disadvantages of ketchup. This short list will allow you to consider how much ketchup can be good for you as well as bad for you. We remind you that this is simply an overview of all the attributes that ketchup contains.

  • Fat free
  • Source of antioxidants, specifically lycopene
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Natural ingredients
  • High sugar content
  • Use of additives and preservatives
  • High sodium content
  • Invasive taste

Ketchup: Ketchup or ketchup-type sauce. What to look out for

A simple word can make a difference in everything from taste to quality. That's why we should always check which type of ketchup we are buying, because ketchup sauce is not the same as ketchup sauce. Here we will tell you why.

Ketchup. In order for our sauce to be considered ketchup, it must contain a minimum of 12% tomato. As well as the use of 4 main ingredients apart from tomato concentrate: water, salt, vinegar and sugars. The spices depend on the manufacturer.

Ketchup. This type of sauce is a free interpretation of the original. It usually does not respect the minimum tomato requirement and often uses additives. It is a lower quality sauce, has a sugar percentage exceeding the maximum of 24% and is distinguished by the use of artificial flavourings.

Ketchup Ketchup-type sauce
Percentage of tomato From 12% Less than 12%
Maximum Sugars Approximately 24% More than 30%
Colour Dark red Bright red
Additives Preservatives Thickeners, preservatives and sweeteners

What is the least harmful ketchup?

Any type of food in excess can cause damage to health. However, in the case of a dressing such as ketchup, there are certain factors to consider, such as the percentage of sodium and sugar it contains. This will determine how harmful it can be to our health. Whatever type of ketchup it is, check that its percentage of sugar does not exceed the percentage recommended by the WHO:

10%. On the other hand, remember that any product made with natural ingredients will always be less aggressive to our organism, so make sure that your ketchup is made with natural ingredients.

The vinegar contained in ketchup allows it to be preserved for longer, without bacterial growth. (Photo: puhhha /

Is ketchup available with less sugar?

One of the great advantages of some brands of ketchup is its low sugar content. The best options offer amounts below 5% sugar. However, we can find versions that reduce this percentage to zero.

It is the perfect option if you are looking to keep in shape or if you suffer from a disease that prevents you from consuming sugar. In general, the taste of ketchup does not vary much, as the basic ingredients remain the same, except for the sugar, which is replaced by sugar substitutes.

Purchasing criteria

Finally, here are some factors that will help you distinguish between brands, types and presentations. This will help you to know some factors you should pay attention to before deciding and make your consumer experience more conscious.


We can find our ketchup in 3 main presentations. Each will respond to specific needs and criteria on the part of consumers, as well as the use they plan to make of the product. Generally the price depends on the quantity of product.

380 grams. This is the perfect presentation for anyone who needs just a light touch of flavour in their food. We recommend this presentation if you only put ketchup on a few foods that really deserve it, such as hamburgers, fries or even pizza.

680 grams. For ketchup lovers who can't get enough. We recommend this version if your meals can't do without a touch of this delicious dressing. It is a practical presentation, with a higher content and at a very affordable price.

More than one litre. We recommend presentations of one litre or more, if you have a restaurant or food establishment. The quantity is ideal for a large, consistent audience that demands the unique ketchup taste in all their meals.


It may seem like a factor that does not affect the product at all, but the shelf life of the product depends on it. The type of packaging will not only determine how conveniently we consume our sauce, but also how well the flavours of the ketchup will remain intact.

Glass bottle. Glass is one of the best ways to preserve flavour. Thanks to its characteristics, external conditions have very little effect on the contents. If you are looking to keep the taste intact for a longer period of time, we recommend the glass bottle.

Plastic bottle. We recommend this container if you are looking for something practical and easy to use. The plastic bottle reduces the effort required to consume our ketchup and has a system that allows the contents to come out quickly. It is also the most economical option.


As is to be expected with such a popular product, ketchup has undergone several appropriations and additions. Different flavours of ketchup can be found on the market, some to add extra flavour and some to reduce the intensity of the ketchup.

Hot. This is one of the most popular choices. It combines the sweetness of ketchup with a touch of spice, usually Tabasco sauce, giving us an incredible explosion of flavours. We recommend this version if you are looking for a stronger seasoning for your meals, which creates a greater contrast.

Sweetened. We can find ketchup sweetened with honey, which offers a more organic and natural taste. We recommend this option if you are looking for something that retains the sweetness, but is not unpleasant to your palate, apart from the unique taste that honey offers. Among the many variants of ketchup, there are two important types: Regular ketchup and organic ketchup. Both have unique factors that differentiate them from each other and cater to completely different audiences.

Regular. This is the common ketchup. It is usually made with preservatives and some additives. We recommend this type if you like the classics, as this is the flavour we have all become familiar with and the one most commonly used by fast food establishments.

Organic. If you are looking for a more natural product, without chemical additives or aggressive processing, we recommend this option. It is characterised by the use of 100% natural ingredients and a completely artisanal production, which gives it a unique flavour, which highlights the protagonist: the tomato.

Ketchup is the most popular dressing, along with mayonnaise and mustard. (Photo: kgberlin /

Expiration date

The last factor you can't overlook is the expiry date of our ketchup. Of course, most of these products have chemical agents to help them keep longer, but these are not a guarantee.

With preservatives. Most commercial ketchup is also distinguished by its long shelf life, thanks to sodium benzoate. Even the ingredients it contains, such as sugar and vinegar, reinforce its shelf life, and prevent bacteria from starting to form mould or altering its taste. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Preservative-free. They are those that have been produced organically. Their shelf life is shorter than the previous ones, usually less than a year, and they require refrigeration. However, their conservation factor will depend on the vinegar, salt and sugar. It is the freshest and most natural option you can get. (Featured image photo: markusspiske/