England’s Obsession with Heinz Baked Beans

The first can of Heinz Baked Beans sold in the UK dates back to 1901, a time when canned food was on the rise on grocery market shelves. Fast forward 100 years, and the Heinz Baked Bean brand has become a cultural icon. The British are obsessed with Heinz Baked Beans, with consumer reports featuring the brand as one of the top most-recognized brands in England and other European nations. The well-known ‘beans on toast’ meal is considered both the poor man’s extravagance, and the rich man’s favorite snack food. How can such a simple food item be popular amongst such a variety of tastes, ages, and remain strong for over a century?

The Heinz Baked Beans recipe is one of a kind; it has been imitated by a variety of companies, but continues to prosper in its signature green and black label. Waitrose Food Illustrated reports that 1.5 million cans are consumed each day, and any English fan will tell you they eat, or at least have tried, Heinz Baked Beans on a regular basis. Famous baked beans recipes usually trace back to the familiar ‘Beans on Toast’; this is a highly popular breakfast food to accompany fried eggs, but many people love the snack as a late-night treat or light supper. Simply heat up a can of beans on the stove or microwave, add to the top of a lightly buttered piece of toast, and enjoy! Variations include adding melted Cheddar Cheese, Tabasco sauce, ground pepper, and even fried onions. The concept is simple, but the joy of beans on toast remains a national phenomena in the U.K. and beyond.

Interestengly enough, Heinz Baked Beans is an exported item from the lands of Pennsylvania in the U.S. It wasn’t until 1905 that the factory was constructed in Peckham, England and the first can of beans was sold as a luxury item. Baked beans followers quickly emerged with evolving menus and deliciously simple combinations. The famous slogan, ‘beanz meanz Heinz’ continues today as one of the most memorable and effective advertising campaigns, and Heinz continues to grow with product extensions and a slew of flavors. Still, in 2003 Heinz changed its recipe for good; after 102 years, the old recipe was discontinued and revisited. Heinz has attempted to enhance the flavor by lowering the sugar and salt contents to create a healthier, but legendary, version.

Most recently in the news, Heinz launched the Heinz ‘Mean’ Beanz line, offering a spicy and zesty twist to the traditional Heinz Baked Beans recipe. The flavor is a super-spicy version that may capture additional markets. In Austrailia, Heinz offers flavors in Chunky Tomato, with Ham, Sweet Chilli Sauce, and even a Mild Curry. The European versions are available in ‘Jalfrezi’, an Indian-inspired chili blend; ‘Tikka’, a middle-eastern inspired cumin and chili pepper blend; ‘Mexican’, containing the addition of chili, cumin, and paprika; and ‘Sweet Chili’ blended with red peppers, cumin, and chili seeds.

Whatever version or flavor you choose, Heinz Baked Beans is a cultural brand that rings true for many who affirm that ‘beanz meanz Heinz.’ The product is sought after in many European countries that only import from England, and supply shortages often drive people crazy as alternatives just don’t make the cut. Heinz has extended its lines into other areas, but the original Heinz Baked Beans in tomato sauce remains its most prominent item. The English-style baked beans will probably lead to fond ‘beans on toast’ consumption for generations to come!

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