McDonald’s is famous for, well, a lot, but arguably, the chain’s fries are its signature item. Alongside those classic shoe-string cut potatoes, there’s another item: ketchup. If you’ve ever thought the fast-food chain’s condiments somehow tasted even better than others, there’s a reason why.
McDonald’s ketchup is actually different than the run-of-the-mill ketchup you might be using every day.
If you’ve been eating at McDonald’s for a while now, you might think that the chain’s ketchup is simply Heinz. That was true for a while, but the ketchup brand and restaurant parted ways in 2013 when Heinz was acquired by Brenado Hees, former CEO of Burger King. Since then, McDonald’s has made its own ketchup.
Now, the brand offers “Fancy” ketchup, a term that is USDA certified to mean it uses high-quality ingredients for the best possible ketchup. It’s a condiment that is required to have good color, consistency, and flavor. Plus, it must be free of defects. “Fancy” or grade-A ketchup must also be at least 33% tomato solids so that it’s thick enough to stay on food.
As for specifics, McDonald’s ketchup and its old Heinz have three differences in ingredients. McDonald’s newest ketchup omits the onion powder and spice found in Heinz and adds a bit of water. Altogether, it consists of tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, water, salt, and natural flavor.
The next time you’re at McDonald’s and have ordered fries with ketchup on the side, you can know that the condiment is a specially made treat straight from the restaurant.