If there is one thing that is sure to start a heated debate, it is posing the question: Which is the best tomato sauce? We all have our preference for one brand, but we wanted to test them against each other in a blind taste test.
We tested Heinz, All Gold, Wimpy, Woolworth, Pick n Pay No name and Wellington’s Full Flavour. (See bottom of article for the rules of the taste test).
We dished out a portion of 6 well-known tomato sauces to each of our tasters, with no labels. To complement the sauce, we had to serve slap chips! We served up an extra large parcel of fresh hot chips from one of Cape Town’s best fish and chips shop, Lusitania Fisheries in the CBD.
We also analysed the other features of the tomato sauces – comparing price, sodium content sugar content and country of origin.
Read on to see all the results:
Wimpy Tomato Sauce: “Perfect to serve with a hangover meal”
We had to include a classic vinegary tomato sauce in the lineup. The Wimpy tomato sauce had a lot of love for its nostalgic throwbacks, but most agreed that it just doesn’t work outside of the Wimpy cafe environment. Comments included: “This one reminds me of my granny’s house” and “Vinegary in a familiar slap tjip way”. Alas, the thin consistency wasn’t enough to take on the other sauces, and Wimpy came in with a 42/100 overall.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup: “It’s nice-ish…”
Heinz is the world’s tomato sauce, of that there is no doubt. The branding and tapered bottle are instantly recognisable, and a few tasters admitted that this was their at-home brand of tomato sauce. Comments from the panel: “The flavour is well balanced” but most picked up the strong vinegar smell, which was not universally loved, and lost it some points. Heinz tomato sauce contains almost 3 times the amount of sodium (salt) compared to Wimpy, at a whopping 1540 mg/l. Heinz came across the line with 65/100
Woolworths Tomato Sauce: “I want to just eat it!
Woolworths Tomato Sauce was an unexpected hit with the tasters, as we don’t usually have much hope for the no-name brands. The smooth, rich texture won them over and generated comments like: “I like everything about this sauce! Taste, texture and smell” and this exuberant taster – “Now that’s Tom sauce!” At approximately R77 p/litre, Woolworth’s tomato sauce was by the far the most expensive. This was the only sauce produced outside of South Africa (product of the USA). Woolies pulled forward with a score of 75/100
Pick n Pay Tomato Sauce: “It almost tastes like barbeque sauce.”
The no-name offering from Pick n Pay is very clearly styled to mimic All Gold Tomato Sauce, but at a lower price point. Don’t be fooled by the glass bottle and dark rich colour however, this sauce has a forced flavour profile tasting of brown sugar and concentrated tomato paste. Many noted a strange aftertaste, commenting “Slightly bitter aftertaste.”It is perhaps no surprise that Pick n Pay was the cheapest sauce in the panel (R32,84 p/litre) With a weak score for taste, Pick n Pay Tomato Sauce lagged behind the frontrunners to the finish with 49/100
All Gold Tomato Sauce: “The Classic”
Going into the taste test, we knew that All Gold Tomato Sauce was going to be a strong contender. As an icon in South African kitchens for generations, the thick, sweet sauce is so familiar to most of us that it was easy to pick it out from the others. Comments from the tasters: “It’s thick enough, looks like it has real tomatoes “, I love everything – it’s the winner” and “a great balance of sweet and sour”. All Gold was also very well priced for its quality, at approximately R32,84 p/litre. All Gold Tomato Sauce sealed the deal with a 79/100.
Wellington’s Full Flavour Tomato Sauce: “It tastes super weird”
The new formula sauce has hit SA shelves, but among our tasters, it fell a bit flat. Tasters were completely turned off by the thin texture and sharp acidity. Comments such as “It doesn’t really taste like tomato sauce.” summed up the panel’s feelings. This sauce has almost 30g of sugar per 100ml, which made it the sweetest sauce in the test. Wellington’s limped across the line with only 45/100
And the winner is All Gold Tomato Sauce.