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TASTE TEST: Ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

As part of an occasional series, members of the Savvy Shopper Street Team test store-brand items for taste and quality. In March, the team chose Food Lion's pasta sauce as the taste test winner against other store brands and national names such as Prego and Ragu. Recently, six local ladies worked out their taste buds for the sake of your picnic, testing store-brand ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. The national names fared better this time, but a few generic versions surprised us.

KETCHUPCheap doesn't win where ketchup is concerned. In a nearly unanimous vote, the Heinz brand won for flavor. Taste testers used words such as "sweet," "strong" and "garlicky" to describe the brand. Farm Fresh's Richfood brand appealed to a few, who called it tart and creamy. Others noted the strong salty taste. Wal-Mart's Great Value brand was the clear loser, with most describing it as metallic tasting.

"No need to take an iron pill with this stuff," said Denise Pons of Newport News.

MUSTARD

Store brands fared better in the mustard category. Kroger came out on top as tangy and tart, with some simply describing it as "yummy." The Richfood brand was one team member's favorite. Wal-Mart took last place, again, but so did the national brand French's. Tammy Williams says French's consistency is too watery, while Krista Talley says it has a little too much bite.

MAYO

Though the most expensive, Kraft was the clear mayonnaise taste test winner. Though the national brand Duke's was also a player, few made note of it as a standout. In fact, Talley, a former fan of Duke's, changed her brand of choice after the blind test.

As for store brands, Food Lion's was described as mild with a bit more flavor than Kraft. Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, a loser in the other condiment categories, didn't offend the taste buds as dramatically during this test. Farm Fresh's Richfood brand was described as the worst during this round, with tasters calling it bland.

WHAT IT COSTS

Ketchup

Farm Fresh, $1 (24 ounces)

Food Lion, $1.79 (36 oz)

Harris Teeter, $1.27 (20 oz)

Heinz, $1.99 (20 oz)

Hunts, $1.35 (24 oz)

Kroger, $1.29 (36 oz)

Wal-Mart, $1.50 (36 oz)

Mustard

Farm Fresh, 99 cents (16 oz)

Food Lion, 94 cents (9 oz)

French's, $1.49 (8 oz)

Harris Teeter, 97 cents (11.5 oz)

Kroger, 59 cents (10.5 oz)

Wal-Mart, $1.08, (16 oz)

Mayonnaise

Duke's, $2.79 (18 oz)

Farm Fresh, $1.98 (16 oz)

Food Lion, $2.29 (16 oz)

Harris Teeter, $2.39 (11.5 oz)

Kraft, $2.99 (12 oz)

Kroger, $1.55 (11.25 oz)

Wal-Mart, $1.44 (16 oz)

* Prices reflect purchase price on April 22, 2010.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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