The Best & Worst Ketchup on Grocery Store Shelves—Ranked!
There are few condiments more popular than ketchup—in fact, Americans eat a whopping $800 million worth of ketchup each year. It's no surprise that ketchup is such a popular condiment. It tastes delicious on burgers, eggs, hash browns, french fries… you get the idea.
Ketchup doesn't have a high caloric content, but is it healthy? Well, there are pros and cons to the nutritional value of this beloved condiment. First, the good news: Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, a writer with My Crohn's and Colitis Team, says that ketchup can be considered a neutral or healthy condiment when used in moderation. "[A] health benefit of ketchup is it provides a source of the antioxidant lycopene," says Klamer. "A 2014 study using cells and ketchup extract found ketchup has anti-inflammatory properties from the lycopene content."
However, Klamer cautions that ketchup should be used in moderation due to its high sugar content. A standard serving of ketchup is one tablespoon, which contains four grams of sugar. "If you're putting ketchup on a lot of foods throughout the day, it could add up to a significant source of hidden sugars," she explains.
Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, founder of Hispanic Food Communications, notes that ketchup is one of the few condiments that's actually made with a vegetable (though, technically, a fruit). "[Tomatoes] are rich in antioxidants and they also contain a small amount of dietary fiber and Vitamin C," she says.
However, Melendez-Klinger says it's still important to keep an eye on nutrition labels. When it comes to selecting ketchup, you want to get a brand that has the lowest amount of added sugar, added salt, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup.
Or, simply keep reading to see how every bottle of ketchup currently available on grocery store shelves ranks in terms of nutrition—starting with the worst options to the very best. (And for more, check out The Worst Condiments You Should Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves.)
Whataburger Fancy Ketchup
We love Whataburger as much as the next person, but save their food (condiments included!) for fast food splurge outings. When it comes to sodium, Whataburger's ketchup has a whopping 200 milligrams, and the ingredients list includes high fructose corn syrup, which should also be avoided.
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Muir Glen Organic Tomato Ketchup
Muir Glen's ketchup is a little deceptive because, although it's organic, it contains 240 mg of sodium—more than any other ketchup on this list. The bright side is that it doesn't contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but if you're on a low-sodium diet, this is definitely one to avoid.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Say it ain't so! The ketchup that so many of us grew up with is actually one of the unhealthiest options on the shelf. "One tablespoon of Heinz ketchup has as much sodium as 15 Lays Classic Potato Chips," says Megan Wong, RD at AlgaeCal. Plus, one look at the ingredients list and you'll see the exact things you want to avoid, like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
Market Pantry Tomato Ketchup
In addition to its high sodium content, Market Pantry's ketchup also contains both corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
Del Monte Tomato Ketchup
Del Monte's ketchup also has a high level of sodium, and both corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are on the ingredients list.
French's Tomato Ketchup
We wouldn't recommend French's because it contains 170 mg of sodium and there are plenty of options with less salt. However, it isn't made with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, so it's a bit healthier than the above options that do contain these ingredients.
Victoria Amory Champagne Ketchup
Although it's low in sodium, we recommend avoiding Victoria Amory's ketchup because of its extremely high sugar content. It contains nearly twice as much sugar as the average ketchup.
365 Organic Tomato Ketchup
Whole Foods' store-brand ketchup is a moderately healthy option, but it's best to stay away from the added sugars. However, this gets nutrition points for being made with organic cane sugar and containing no corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
Cucina Antica Organic Tomato Ketchup
Cucina Antica should really be considered a tie with 365 Organic because it contains the exact same amount of sodium, carbs, sugar, and added sugar. And, like 365 Organic, it's made using organic cane sugar and without corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
Simply Balanced Organic Tomato Ketchup
Simply Balanced is also a fairly healthy option, although you can find ketchups with lower sodium content. Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are absent from the ingredients list and it's organic, but the 3 grams of added sugar aren't ideal.
Hunt's 100% Natural Tomato Ketchup
Another all-natural option, this ketchup is made with cane sugar and doesn't contain corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
"Hunts 100% Natural Ketchup [is a] variety that I would recommend to use in moderation," says Trista Best, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements. The one con to this brand is (you guessed it!) the fact that it contains 3 grams of added sugars.
Woodstock Farms Organic Tomato Ketchup
Another solid organic option, Woodstock Farms' ketchup has a moderate amount of sodium and an average amount of sugar. It's also made with organic sugar and doesn't contain any added sugars.
Sir Kensington's Classic Ketchup
Sir Kensington's ketchup is made from organic sugar cane and fresh tomatoes instead of tomato paste. It's also USDA Organic, non-GMO certified, vegan, and gluten-free. This brand doesn't contain corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, but the one major downside is its high salt content: with 190 mg of sodium, it's one of the saltiest ketchups on this list.
Thrive Organic Ketchup
This is another organic ketchup that's a healthy option. It does contain more sodium and added sugars than other organic ketchups, but Thrive has a number of pros: it's made with organic sugar and is non-GMO certified.
Annie's Organic Ketchup
You can always count on Annie's for healthy and delicious foods and condiments, and the brand's ketchup is no exception. This certified organic ketchup contains only non-GMO ingredients and is sweetened with pure cane sugar rather than artificial sugar.
Trader Joe's Organic Ketchup
USDA Organic and non-GMO certified, Trader Joe's has one of the healthiest ketchups out there. Needless to say, it's made without corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup and the sugar content is low. This brand also doesn't contain any added sugars.
Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Organic Ketchup
In addition to being USDA Organic and non-GMO, Primal Kitchen's ketchup is Whole30 approved, Certified Paleo, and Certified Keto. It also has very low sodium and just one gram of sugar.
First Field Jersey Ketchup
This organic ketchup is made with tomatoes sourced from a family farm in New Jersey and spices and sugars harvested from other non-GMO farms in America. It contains no corn syrup, tomato paste, or added concentrates. First Field's ketchup has the lowest sodium content you'll find and contains half the amount of sugar as the average ketchup.
True Made Foods No Sugar Veggie Ketchup
The simple ingredient list speaks for itself: tomato paste, apples, carrots, squash, spinach, vinegar, and spices. This ketchup also has low sugar content and is both paleo- and keto-friendly.
"True Made Foods Veggie Ketchup wins the healthiest ketchup award in my book," says Wong. "Rather than using sugar, this ketchup is sweetened with fruits and vegetables—apples, butternut squash, and carrots—meaning only 2 grams of naturally occurring sugars per tablespoon, and 0 grams of added sugars!"
And there you have it: The #1 best ketchup on grocery store shelves. For more, check out The Best & Worst Mustards on Store Shelves—Ranked! and The Best & Worst Mayonnaises—Ranked!.