BRITS are up in arms after the recipe for their beloved and iconic HP sauce was secretly changed by US food giant Heinz — with the blame placed on the British government.
The British brown sauce, now produced by Heinz, had its salt level reduced from 2.1g per 100g to 1.3g per 100g in line with a British government health initiative.
Despite what might appear to be a minor change, connoisseurs including chef Marco Pierre White, who has three Michelin stars, have vented their anger over the new sauce. Mr White, who trained the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, told London’s The Daily Telegraph he had sent back a meal of sausages and mash at posh London pub The Hansom Cab — owned by broadcaster Piers Morgan — thinking the sausages were off.
“At first, I thought it was the sausages, but it wasn’t,” Mr White said. “It was the HP, which tasted disgusting. It was definitely dodgy. I had no idea they had changed the recipe.
“I was brought up on HP sauce in Yorkshire. My old man used to say ketchup was for southerners and HP was for northerners.
“My father would turn in his grave if he discovered they changed the recipe.”
Heinz explained the change to the 116-year-old recipe by saying the company was committed to lowering salt levels as directed by the British government.
In line with changes in consumer tastes, Heinz has long been dedicated to reducing added salt in recipes, in line with government health targets, a Heinz spokesman said.
HP sauce was developed in Nottingham, central England, in 1895. It was named HP sauce when its inventor, grocer Frederick Gibson Garton, heard it was being served in London’s houses of parliament.
For many years, a picture of the houses of parliament and their famous Big Ben clock have adorned the sauce’s label.
The sauce contains malt vinegar, tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices.