I have been a Heinz Baked Bean fan ever since I can remember to the point where I would refuse the option if it was anything other than Heinz. About two years ago my mother-in-law changed to Branston beans. I smiled, shrugged my shoulders, thought each to their own and placed her order without a qualm.
Every now and then she would ask me if I had tried them. I’d wrinkle my nose and say I wasn’t really interested. Then, her neighbour got in on the act and said, ‘try them; just once. I bet you like them more than Heinz.’ It was all I could do not to scoff. So I smiled and said okay.
I did as I said I would, I picked up a small tin of Branston baked beans at the local Co-Op. It felt wrong, like buying a different toothpaste or going to a different hairdressers, as though I were pretending to be someone else. Nonetheless I bought it. I took it home and suffered my husband’s scathing comments (silently agreeing with him). It took me more than a week to finally relent and opened the damned tin. The rest of the family had regular Heinz.
I was surprised as soon as I saw the contents: they were redder, more tomatoey and the sauce was thicker, also the beans weren’t as pallid as the Heinz variety. Now, as I said, the rest of the family had Heinz so I was able to compare the two side-by-side and guess what? Had you offered me a taste test and put them in front of me I would have pointed to the Branston ones and said Heinz, definitely. The taste was what I remember Heinz as being only somehow, over the years, it has become diluted to the point where they are now one step away from a cheap brand. I wasn’t the only one – my husband and children all tried them and noticed the same thing as I. What happened and why didn’t I notice? My loyalty has shifted. I’m a Branstonite now. Sorry Heinz, you’ve lost me and it most definitely is your fault.
BTW, in case you are wondering, I have absolutely nothing to do with either the Heinz or Branston compaies. One thing this exercise has done is opened my idea to different options. Next shopping trip I’m going to try a different tomato ketchup but I’ll stick to the soup – my family aren’t that adventurous.