Heinz tomato ketchup tops inflation survey of UK branded groceries

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Z5notuYEa0eg_llw3QHNGg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/5436d936a32eba578ecfe4c713320fed&quot; alt="<span>Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The cost of Heinz tomato ketchup in UK supermarkets has shot up 53% since 2020, making it the biggest riser in of a list of leading branded groceries.

Two other Heinz products also made the top 10 in the index of average price rises compiled by the consumer group Which? – the brand’s cream of chicken and tomato soups.

The research comes four months after the company’s products temporarily disappeared from the shelves of Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, in a row over price increases. Heinz was thought to have been seeking cost price rises of as much as 30% in the summer.

Which? found that its list of 79 popular branded products exceeded the overall rate of grocery price inflation, with none rising less than 22%.

The findings give a further suggestion of why British shoppers have been switching to budget ranges and discount chains, as annual supermarket inflation reached a record high of nearly 15% last month, driving up the average annual bill by £682 a year.

Analysts at Kantar say overall grocery price inflation stood at 17.2% in relation to October 2020 – the closest available comparison with the Which? survey.

The price of Heinz ketchup rose by an average of 90p but was up 70% at one particular supermarket over the two-year period – an increase of £1.06.

A spokesperson for Kraft Heinz, the parent group of the ketchup brand, said: “Like the rest of the food industry, we are continuing to face inflationary pressures on ingredients, labour and transportation.

“As a result, the prices of our products continue to reflect the costs of production. We value our consumers and are aware of the daily role Heinz products play in households across the UK.

“We remain committed to helping them offset some of the pressures consumers are facing without compromising on quality. This is through larger pack sizes, a wider range of entry-price points as well as finding efficiencies in our operations, like removing unnecessary ingredients, and investing further in technology.”

The second-biggest average percentage increase among the branded products included in the Which? list was for Dolmio lasagne sauce (470g), which rose 47%, or 61p, across the six supermarkets in the two years.

It was followed by the Heinz 400g of classic cream of chicken soup, which went up 46%, and Dolmio bolognese original pasta sauce, increasing by 46%.

Butter saw some of the biggest rises. A 500g tub of Anchor spreadable butter went up by £1.31 (45%) on average, while the same-sized tub of Lurpak spreadable slightly salted was up by £1.17 (35%).

Sue Davies, head of food policy at Which?, said: “Our research shows the shocking rate of inflation on some of the nation’s favourite branded foods, which is much higher than the national average and highlights why it is so important for retailers to provide people with a choice of product ranges.

“Supermarkets must ensure budget lines for healthy and affordable essential items are widely available across their stores including smaller convenience stores. Promotions should be targeted at those most in need and people supported so they can easily compare the price of products to get the best value.”

Mars, the owner of Dolmio, has been contacted for comment.

The top 10 risers

Heinz tomato ketchup sauce – top down 460g 53%

Dolmio lasagne sauce 470g 47%

Heinz classic cream of chicken soup 400g 46%

Dolmio bolognese original pasta sauce 500g 46%

Anchor spreadable butter tub 500g 45%

Heinz cream of tomato soup 400g 44%

Colman’s classic mint sauce 165g 44%

Colman’s horseradish sauce 136g 44%

Batchelors super noodles BBQ beef flavour 90g 43%

Hovis granary wholemeal 800g 43%

Based on Which? analysis of 79 branded products available across Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose (21 September to 20 October in 2020 and 2022)

Published by anthonyhayble

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