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Heinz Ketchup still a household favorite for Pittsburghers

Photo by Allie Caulfield

→ Did you know Heinz Ketchup is the best-selling ketchup in Pittsburgh? Pittsburghers believe there is a stark difference in taste and consistency between Heinz Ketchup and other brands.

When asked, local patrons at Bob’s Diner in Kennedy Township all showed the unsurprising preference for Heinz Ketchup above all others.

Sheraden resident Tyree James II exemplified the opinion of others in his age group, Gen Z.

“I don’t think I ever tried another ketchup before,” said James. “I don’t think I could tell you what other ketchups taste like. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve eaten in a restaurant that didn’t serve Heinz Ketchup.”

Shaitisha Campbell, 38, lives on the Northside but travels to Bob’s Diner once a week for breakfast with friends.

“To eat at a restaurant in Pittsburgh that doesn’t serve Heinz Ketchup is unprecedented and borderline blasphemous,” said Campbell. “Besides the taste, I can’t exactly tell you why I prefer it. All I know is that I grew up in a house that ate Heinz ketchup, and so did my parents and their parents. I guess it’s a Pittsburgh tradition.”

Local barber Randolph Mitchell, 50, from Elliot, said, “Pittsburghers prefer Heinz Ketchup because it’s made in Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers are fearlessly loyal to our brands and teams. That goes for Steelers, Penguins, and ketchup.”

→ Did you know in 1869 the H.J. Heinz company started production by selling horseradish, pickles, vinegar, and a variety of sauces? All products were bottled in clear glass so customers could see the quality. It wasn’t until 1876, when ketchup made its debut, under the spelling “catsup,” that the company began producing it. A Chinese recipe for Cat Sup made with a thick tomato sauce, special seasoning, and starch inspired H.J. Heinz, who refashioned the condiment into our popular understanding of ketchup.

→ Did you know H.J. Heinz created the famous slogan “57 Varieties” simply because they believed it sounded like a lucky number? Over 60 products were actually manufactured and distributed by Heinz at the time.

→ Did you know by 1908, Heinz Ketchup became the world’s largest tomato manufacturer and continues to dominate the condiment market? Selling over 5,700 products in 200 countries around the globe, Heinz Ketchup continues to grace dinner tables, school cafeterias, food stands, and restaurants.

DBO’s restaurant owner Danny Williams has been in business for over three years on Hillsboro Street in the Sheraden neighborhood. “I purchase Heinz Ketchup not only because I like it, but because if I use a different brand, I will feel like I’m cheating my customers,” said Williams. “Pittsburghers can tell the difference between Heinz and everybody else’s ketchup. To me, there is only one kind of ketchup and that’s Heinz.”

Generations of Pittsburghers echo the same sentiment. When a Pittsburgher asks for ketchup, they automatically mean “Heinz.” Eating and choosing Heinz Ketchup seems to be universal and a way of life. But if you ask a Pittsburgher about their favorite mustard…that is a different story.



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