Tomato sauce taste test

A squirt of 'dead horse'.
A squirt of 'dead horse'. Photo: Jennifer Soo

What goes with bangers? Sauce, of course. We taste-tested 10 top brands of 'dead horse'. Here are our results, from best to worst.

1. Heinz organic tomato ketchup
$3.75 for 500 millilitre bottle

In a snazzy top-down bottle, this was our favourite sauce of the pack. Its rich, rounded flavour and dark colour scored big raps from our tasters. A bold yet simple sauce with no thickeners or preservatives. Lots of umami.

The stats 77 per cent concentrated tomatoes; 24.9g sugar per 100 millilitres

Eat with A gourmet, homemade burger

2. Colway tomato sauce
$1.39 for a 500 millilitre bottle

A great value sauce that's rich, salty and a good consistency. "I'd buy that," said one taster. The inclusion of Worcestershire and soy sauce in its ingredients likely accounts for its dark colour and rich flavour.  

The stats 75 per cent reconstituted tomato puree; 26.1g per 100ml
Eat with A good sausage roll

3. Heinz tomato sauce
$1.79 for 220 millilitres 


A real classic, something you'd expect to come with a basket of salty fries or swirled on a straight-up burger. Sweet, innocuous and a good staple.

The stats 77 per cent tomato; sugar 25.8g per 100ml
Eat with Hot fries

4. Dick Smith's OzEsauce
$3 for a 500 millilitre bottle

"Australian grown", "Aussie owned & made", and the Australian flag blowing in the wind show this OzEsauce's roots. If you want some politics with your sauce, this is it. Dick Smith is "fighting back" again US giants Heinz and MasterFoods and about as dinky di as it gets. It's a smooth, flavoursome, no-nonsense sauce with no artificial flavours or preservatives.

The stats 80 per cent tomato puree; sugar 24.3g per 100ml
Eat with A sausage at a polling booth

5. Coles tomato sauce
$1.50 for 500 millilitres

This classic, inoffensive sauce will jazz up the humblest of snags and is the top-value option you might buy for your next Bunning's sausage sizzle. It's sweet and "more lubricant rather than flavour packed", says one taster. 

The stats 78 per cent tomato puree; sugar 24g per 100ml
Eat with A fundraiser barbecue sausage 

6. Mon T tomato sauce
$3.50 for a 710 millilitre bottle

More like a bright tomato paste, with its passato and chutney-like texture. This sauce separated on the plate, and looked more homemade than the rest. It's a tart sauce with an acidic finish. All natural ingredients and Australian tomatoes.

The stats  75 per cent tomato puree; sugar 21.9g per 100ml
Eat with A homemade egg and bacon roll

7. MasterFoods tomato sauce
$2.39 for a 250 millilitre bottle 

Sweet! So sweet! With the highest sugar content of the pack, this little number was cloyingly sweet. "It makes my eyes squint," said one taster. 

The stats 76 per cent tomato (from paste); sugar 29.1g per 100ml
Eat with An American hotdog (with mustard)

8. Fountain tomato sauce
$2.50 for a 500 millilitre bottle

We tried the "no added sugar" version of the Fountain brand, since 1906. Good colour and texture, and it's definitely a healthier option with no added sugar and 25 per cent less salt. But the flavour suffered. Natural sweeteners and apple extract were added. The flavour had a short, sharp finish and a lingering metallic sort of taste.

The stats 86 per cent tomato puree; sugars 11.6g per 100ml
Eat with Frankfurters at a kid's party (less sugar)

9. White Crow by Fountain 
$2.39 for a 600 millilitre bottle

Turn the plate upside down and watch in awe as none of the sauce falls off. This  is thick, sweet, and tomato pastey. It tastes like something you might find dolloped on a pastie bought from a country bakery.

The stats 78% tomato, 24.8g per 100ml
Eat with A classic meat pie

10. Woolworths homebrand tomato sauce
$1.59 for a 600ml bottle

The least enjoyable of the group with a flat, pale and watery look, a thin consistency, and no distinct flavour profile. More orangey than a deep red. Great value though.

The stats Minimum 67 per cent tomato puree and water; sugar 21.7g per 100ml
Eat with Chilli sausages

But what about mustard? Check out this lot