Why ‘Mayochup’ Could Be Heinz’s Most Controversial Condiment Yet
Popular ketchup brand Heinz launched a new concept into a storm of controversy recently. It took to Twitter April 12 with a poll about a potential product launch, they dubbed “mayochup.” Comprised of mayonnaise and ketchup blended together, Heinz wanted people to decide whether the product deserves a spot on U.S. shelves. Read on to find out the biggest change Twitter forced Heinz to make. (Page 10).
1. Heinz tweeted it out to a vote
“Want #mayochup in stores? 500,000 votes for ‘yes’ and we’ll release it to you saucy Americans,” Heinz tweeted. The company already sells the product in some companies, it reported. It earned enough popularity in the Middle East, Heinz figured Americans might want in on the action. It subsequently decided the product’s “U.S. debut,” would come down to a vote, the company said in a news release.
Next: The company did not invent “mayochup,” one country quickly pointed out.
2. Sorry Heinz: You can’t claim mayochup
As it turns out, Heinz did not come up with the idea — just the name. “Puerto Ricans bathe in” it, one Twitter user noted. The condiment goes great with fried plantains, yucca, french fries, and other snacks. But in Puerto Rico, they call it “mayoketchup,” pronounced “my-oh-ketchup.”
Next: Other countries also claim ownership of the treat.
3. It also appears elsewhere across Latin America
In Puerto Rico, mayokétchup has earned a designation as the island’s official condiment. While Puerto Ricans love their mayoketchup, it also shows up under different names in a bunch of other places. In Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela, they call it “salsa rosada,” or “pink sauce.” In Colombia and Venezuela, it goes great on arepas. In Costa Rica, it even provides the base for coleslaw.
Next: The sauce might really originate in this South American spot.
4. This teenager might have actually invented it
Legend has it, the sauce actually came about in Argentina in the 1920s. According to Ozy, a teenager named Luis Federico Leloir needed a dipper for his prawns at the Mar del Plata Golf Club in the coastal city of Mar del Plata. He mixed mayonnaise and ketchup together, christening the result“salsa golf.” It really took off in the 1960s, when big brands started putting it on the shelves.
Next: You won’t believe what made Leloir famous, years later.
5. The originator later won a Nobel Prize
Decades later, Leloir actually made a name for himself, but not in condiments. He ended up winning the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1970 for “his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates,” according to the Nobel website. “If I had patented the sauce,” he once told Notimérica, “I would have earned much more money than as a scientist.”
Next: The sauce made it to the States around the same time.
6. This Utah chain turned it into a staple
“Fry sauce is much more than just a condiment to the people who consider it a beloved staple of Western American comfort food,” Eater wrote in 2016. Chef Don Carlos Edwards of the Arctic Circle Restaurant chain first started mixing a mayo-based white sauce with ketchup in the 1940’s. He used to pester his customers to try it, according to chief operating officer Kasey Christensen.
“Fry sauce really came to be after Edwards showed it to nearly anyone who would listen,” Christensen explained. “There was once a time when even our burgers had that pink sauce slathered on it. We used to put fry sauce on our sandwiches and some years later on we reversed that trend, and people reserved it for their fries.”
Next: The sauce appeared elsewhere across the U.S. and the world, too.
7. It also appeared in a cookbook in 1900
Eater notes that the sauce spread across the country like wildfire. At around the same time, it appeared on the West Coast and Northwest, as well as Central America, Eastern Europe, the Balkan countries and a select few countries in the Middle East. A comparable Thousand Island dressing even appears in a New Orleans cookbook, circa 1900. Variations also appear in Germany and Iceland, as well as the United Kingdom.
Next: Other brands have tried to capitalize on it before.
8. Heinz will not mark the first time it gets bottled
Arctic Circle sells their fry sauce in bottles, as well as going through some 50,000 gallons a year in its dining rooms. Brands like Goya and Stephen’s sell their own versions too, with a range of differences. Some add pickles, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or sugar.
Arctic Circle has not released their fry sauce, mostly to stand out among competitors and look-a-likes. “Some other chains and restaurateurs also claim as well that they created fry sauce, but we’re confident in our history and knowledge here that Arctic Circle was the birthplace of fry sauce before it ever became popular anywhere else,” Christensen said.
Next: Some mayoketchup purists prefer to mix theirs by hand.
9. Purists scoffed at the bottled version of mayo ketchup
“Yeah, you have to custom mix it. Gotta have the right mayo to ketchup ratio. I don’t trust this at all,” tweeted Nadege C. Green, a reporter for South Florida NPR station WLRN, in response to Heinz. Similar to the equally cultish Buffalo wing sauce, people have strong opinions about the best version. Whether you mix your own, pick up a bottle of Stephen’s or Arctic Circle, it all tastes deliciously similar.
“We may have different names for her (Mayo-Ketchup, Salsa Golf, Fry Sauce, Salsa Rosada), but we all pray to the same sauce,” tweeted comedian and writer Gabe Gonzalez.
Next: Heinz decided to slightly modify the contest, after the backlash.
10. Heinz will add a naming contest to the poll
The condiment company quickly pivoted after Twitter freaked out. It welcomed the DIY idea, telling its Twitter followers to “Show off your saucy skills, and try mixing your own.” In response to the debate over the name “Mayochup,” Heinz also said it will put the final name up for a vote before the U.S. launch. Whatever you call it, the popularity of the conversation itself pretty much guarantees you can try Heinz’s version soon.
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