FOR more than a century it has been a staple product in millions of kitchen larders across Britain. But now Heinz is set to ditch the name of its famous Salad Cream for the first time in 104 years – changing it to Sandwich Cream.
The maker claims that as only 14 per cent of buyers used the yellow sauce on salads, the old name no longer reflects its modern purpose.
But the news has caused consternation among some traditionalists, including those who rallied to save the brand a few years ago. Comedian Jim Davidson, 64, described the move as diabolical.
He said: “That’s it, proof the world has gone totally mad. No more salads for me then. I’ll have no choice but to eat burger and chips. “I’ll be a fat man. Have they not thought about the effect on the nation’s waistline?
“Salad cream is the only reason to eat a salad.”
Parent group Kraft Heinz said it was working with brand design specialist Jones Knowles Ritchie on overhauling one of Britain’s most enduring kitchen favourites, launched in 1914.
A Heinz spokesman told trade journal The Grocer: “The name no longer fairly represents the product’s ingredients or usage occasions. “There are consumers now who haven’t grown up with the brand in the household and just don’t know about the iconic zingy flavour or what to eat it with.”
Its own research discovered just 14 per cent used the cream on salad.
Other popular uses now include as an accompaniment to tuna, ham or cheese in
sandwiches, usually as an alternative to mayonnaise.
According to The Grocer, it is also considering the name sandwich cream in a bid to appeal to younger shoppers. UK sales of the brand dipped 5.4 per cent to £28.8million last year.
The consultation process means the earliest a new name will be introduced is in September.
In 1999 it was revealed that Heinz was about to ditch the brand.
But a protest, by shoppers alongside several celebrity campaigners such as Denise van Outen and Graham Norton, saved the brand.
The publicity helped sales and Heinz took advantage by relaunching new-look packaging and putting the price up
The spokesman added: “As a market-leading business, Kraft Heinz continues to audit its portfolio to meet the needs of consumers.”
Salad Cream was launched by Heinz for the UK market.
It became popular during the Second World War when tomato ketchup was in short supply and is now seen as a cheap low-fat alternative to mayonnaise.
In 2010 Heinz launched a new limited edition lemon-and-black pepper flavoured salad cream.
While Heinz’s recipe is a secret, a homemade version could include egg, mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, double cream, olive oil, pepper and sugar.
Heinz has backtracked on renaming Salad Cream to Sandwich Cream after a backlash from customers.
A plan to rename the familiar sauce sparked outrage from fans of the sauce after it was announced in June.
The company said it felt the name did not "fairly represent" how people used the condiment, as only 14 per cent of customers claimed they actually used it on salads.
In a "very important sauce-related announcement" video yesterday, Heinz's chief of feedback, "Jenny Lettuce", admitted the company was wrong and implied that its name does not have any bearing on what it is for.
The comedic clip shows her rubbing the sauce into her face and claiming it is an "essential part of my skincare routine".
She said: "When we suggested Sandwich Cream you spoke up immediately.
"Far be it from us to dictate your eating habits, we welcome and embrace all uses."
Reading tweets from customers, she quotes one as saying: "A product name is in not a direction of how to use it. You don't call vinegar "shaky chip juice". "We can't ignore the will of the people after all," she added. "Salad Cream is here to stay," she said, before staking a bite out of a sandwich.
The marketing move succeeded in generating a lot of chatter on social media, as people discussed the sauce en masse and pitched it against their other favourites. Others claimed the brand has been forgotten about for a reason.