In many families, tomato products, especially ketchup, make up a high percentage of the household vegetable intake. About 75 percent of tomato consumption is in the form of processed tomatoes, including juice, tomato paste and ketchup.
Tomatoes are the #1 source for an important nutrient called lycopene, a potent antioxidant known to help prevent and heal cell damage. Foods rich in lycopene can lower cancer and heart disease risk. Recent research has shown organic ketchup has about double the antioxidants of conventional ketchup. When choosing an organic ketchup brand, in general, a deeper red natural color goes along with higher lycopene levels.
Now, my kids don't put ketchup on everything like some children do, but they do end up dipping something in ketchup several times a week. Enough that I think I should be concerned about the ingredients.
The conventional ketchup contains "tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring."
The organic ketchup contains "organic tomato concentrate made from red ripe organic tomatoes, organic distilled vinegar, organic sugar, salt, organic onion powder, organic spice, natural flavoring."
I'm pleased that the organic ketchup contains not only organic ingredients, but that it uses organic sugar instead of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. But, how does it taste, and more importantly what do the boys think?
Neither of them notice a difference in taste, but they both say it's lumpier. Lumpier? There are no lumps that I can see. I give it a taste. What they call "lumpier" ends up being thickness. There is a noticeable difference in the texture of the two ketchups and kids don't always adjust to texture changes easily.
I like the taste of the organic ketchup more than the conventional stuff. It tastes richer, more like tomatoes and less sweet. Funny, I turn the bottle around and see that at the top of the neck is the claim "thick rich taste." The claim is true.
My husband used it on a hot dog with mustard and relish. He said that with all of the other condiments on the dog, he didn't even realize there was any difference in the ketchup.
My conclusion. The organic ketchup is a keeper. The boys will get used to thicker texture. If for some reason they can't, they'll just have to stop using ketchup.
One of the ways I decide which foods to buy in their organic form is how frequently it gets eaten in our house. Ketchup is eaten several times a week by my family, so for me, its worth spending a few extra dimes for the organic version.