Sweden is the country, just after Ireland, where we eat the most ketchup in the whole world. Heinz celebrates this by launching five limited edition bottles with a design that shows which dishes we usually eat ketchup with.
The limited edition bottles are available in five different variants, the design of which shows which dishes Swedes usually eat ketchup with: falu sausage, sausage with bread, meatballs, spaghetti and hamburgers. The bottles have been inspired by the fact that Sweden is in second place in the list of which country eats the most ketchup in the world.
Food historian Richard Tellström explains how ketchup has become so popular in Sweden and the connection to these dishes:
“Heinz Tomato Ketchup has long been a favorite among Swedes. It is one of our most beloved modern flavors and one of the best accessories in Swedish cooking. The fact that it has become so popular in Sweden is closely related to the new Swedish emulsion sausages that were developed from the 1930s onwards. This type of sausage is often served with tomato ketchup. The combination of ketchup and sausage captures the sweet and sour chords that characterized our food culture from the mid-1800s to the present day.”
Something that has also had a big impact on ketchup’s popularity in Sweden is our children and their school meals, explains Richard. “When school meals in the 1950s became increasingly common, ketchup became a permanent feature of the sausage dishes that were served. When the children talked about the school food and its flavor combinations at home, sausage-with-ketchup came to be incorporated into everyday food and the home’s food culture. Especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when high food prices made hot dogs with bread a cheap alternative.
20 facts about ketchup
- Consumer data (Euromonitor) shows that Sweden beats all but one other country in terms of the amount of ketchup consumed per person per year (a whopping 3.2 kg per person per year).
- In Sweden, 20 million kg of ketchup is consumed per year.
- Two-thirds of all Swedes eat ketchup at least once a week or more. And 40% eat it several times a week.
- Swedes eat ketchup with over 50 different dishes.
- The main favorite to combine with ketchup is sausage with bread, which roughly 70% of Swedes eat with ketchup (and 42% say they couldn’t eat without it).
- Until 1942, it was only in Stockholm that hot dogs were allowed to be sold together with tomato sauce in hot dog kiosks (then the sauce was not called ketchup). In the rest of Sweden it was forbidden.
- The first Swedish advertisement for Heinz Tomato Ketchup was printed in Dagens Nyheter on March 23, 1911.
- The first store, which began selling Heinz Tomato Ketchup in 1911, was located at one of Stockholm’s finest addresses – Strandvägen 7C. At the time, ketchup was a luxury afforded to few.
- In the 1920s, Heinz products were sold by a grocer who was also a royal court supplier. Stockholm’s most well-to-do bourgeoisie shopped there.
- Heinz Tomato Ketchup became a popular cooking ingredient in the better-off classes of the 1930s. Especially in salad dressing, which became fashionable in Swedish food at the time – along with other novelties such as tomato and green salad.
- Ketchup was a precious ingredient for the better-off until the 1950s. Then the price went down, and when the ketchup was later launched in a plastic bottle during the 1960s, it became more accessible and popular in more Swedish homes. Especially for grilled sausage during forest walks, in sausage kiosks and for macaroni and spaghetti.
- Today, 81% of Swedes state that they use ketchup as an ingredient in their cooking.
- During the late 1960s, Heinz Tomato Ketchup became increasingly common. It then began to be called Heinz Ketchup, without adding the word “tomato”.
- Anyone who wants to impress their guests offers Heinz! When the Swedes had to choose which brand they would use to impress, Heinz came out on top with 49%.
- The fact that ketchup has become so popular in Sweden is closely related to the new Swedish emulsion sausages, for example hot dogs, which were developed in the 1930s and onwards. They were often eaten with ketchup – sometimes also together with the product “tomato mustard” (a mix of mustard and tomato ketchup) which began to be sold in the mid-1930s.
- When school meals became more common in the 1950s, ketchup became a permanent feature of the sausage dishes that were served.
- When food prices rose in Sweden during the 1960s and 1970s, schoolchildren took the combination of sausage and ketchup home with them – it thus became a popular everyday dish.
- Since Sweden has historically lacked fresh vegetables during the winter months, and before the freezer and frozen vegetables were launched in the 1950s, sugar- and vinegar-pickled vegetables were common during the winter. Therefore, the ketchup fit in well with the Swedes’ penchant for sweet and sour flavor combinations.
- From the 1960s, tomato ketchup became a common accompaniment to the school meal spaghetti bolognese with ketchup (launched in 1963) and once again the school children took the idea home.
- The consumption of spaghetti and pasta in Sweden has increased 800% since the 1960s, which has also affected the consumption of tomato ketchup.