The cost of Heinz tomato ketchup in UK supermarkets has risen by 53% since 2020, making it the biggest rise in the list of leading branded grocers.
Two other Heinz products also took the top ten in the average price hikes index compiled by the consumer group that? – Cream of chicken and tomato soup of the brand.
The research comes four months after the company’s products temporarily disappeared from the shelves of Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, in a row over price hikes. It was believed that Heinz was seeking to increase cost prices by as much as 30% in the summer.
Which? It found that its list of 79 popular brand products outpaced the overall rate of grocery price inflation, with none rising by less than 22%.
The findings offer another suggestion as to why British shoppers are turning to budget ranges and discount chains, with annual supermarket inflation hitting a record high of around 15% last month, driving up the average annual bill by £682 a year.
Analysts at Kantar say overall grocery price inflation was 17.2% with respect to October 2020 – the closest available comparison with Which? exploratory study.
The price of Heinz ketchup increased by an average of 90p but rose by 70% in 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 continue to experience inflationary pressures on ingredients, labor and transportation.
As a result, our product prices continue to reflect production costs. We value our consumers and understand the everyday role that Heinz products play in homes across the UK.
“We remain committed to helping them overcome some of the pressures consumers face without compromising on quality. This is done through large package sizes, a broader range of entry points as well as finding efficiencies in our operations, such as removing unnecessary components, and investing more in technology .”
The second largest increase in the average percentage among the brand products listed in Which? The menu was for Dolmio lasagne (470g), which is up 47%, or 61p, across the six supermarkets in the two years.
It was followed by Heinz’s 400g Classic Cream of Chicken Soup, which was up 46%, and then the original Dolmeo Bolognese pasta sauce, up 46%.
Butter has seen some of the biggest rises. A 500g package of Anchor Spreads increased £1.31 (45%) on average, while Lurpak’s Lurpak Butter Spread increased £1.17 (35%).
Sue Davies, Head of Food Policy at Which? said: “Our research shows the staggering inflation rate of some of the nation’s favorite brand foods, well above the national average and highlights the importance of retailers providing people who choose product ranges.
Supermarkets must ensure that the budget items of healthy and affordable essentials are widely available across their stores including convenience stores. Promotions should target those who need it most and people should be supported so that they can easily compare product prices to get the best value.”
Mars, owner of Dolmio, has been contacted for comment.
Top 10 Ascendant
Heinz Ketchup Sauce – 460 gm 53%
Dolmeo Lasagna Sauce 470gm 47%
Heinz Classic Cream of Chicken Soup 400g 46%
Original Dolmio Bolognese Pasta Sauce 500gm 46%
Anchor Butter Spreading Basin 500gm 45%
Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup 400g 44%
Colmans classic mint sauce 165 g 44%
Coleman horseradish sauce 136gm 44%
Bachelor’s Super Noodles BBQ Beef Flavor 90g 43%
Whole grain hovis 800 gm 43%
* based on which? Analysis of 79 branded products available across Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco and Waitrose (September 21 to October 20 in 2020 and 2022)