How is Ketchup Made | Production Process With Flow Chart

By | February 7, 2018

Tomatoes so called fruit which are considered vegetables for all the commercial purposes. We all eat tomatoes in our salads, curry’s and almost all the recipe which we cook today. The most important condiment of our meals which we eat daily without any thought that how did this piquant, spicy and sweet which we know as ketchup today came to be known as ketchup. Tomatoes which we consider make our ketchups are just around 30-40% part of our ketchups. For India the tomato ketchup section is growing at a rate of 11.6%(CAGR 2018-2021), and India being far behind by generating revenue of US$ 685m from ketchup with highest revenues by USA i.e. US$8,657m in 2018. This segment which is generating such huge revenues has a great story to tell, that how it started from a simple fermented fish.So let’s learn more about How is Ketchup made.

How Is Ketchup Made With Flow Chart |

What is Ketchup | How is Ketchup Made

Ketchup is a savoury and glossy condiment made of onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar and pureed tomatoes. Traditional recipes of this most popular condiment did not consisted tomatoes at all they had oysters, mussels, egg whites, walnuts. It is the hero of all household today even the most deserted refrigerators would find a ketchup in it, it makes a mediocre dish to high tasting meal.

Origin of Ketchup

Today’s ketchup originated from the fermented fish which was first made 500 years ago, the story began from a small province on the South China Sea from where Fujianese-built ships sailed as far as to Persia & Madagascar and took Chinese seamen and settlers to various ports throughout Southeast Asia. Then at this time the Vietnamese fisherman introduced them to their fish sauce, a liquid which was pungent in smell with a beautiful caramel color that was made out of salted and fermented anchovies. This fish sauce is now called nuoc mam in or nam pla in Thai, but the Chinese seamen called it ke-tchup, “preserved-fish sauce” in Hokkien—the language of southern Fujian and Taiwan. These settlers took it to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines; the word was adopted where ever it went and in the Indonesian language, the word kecap just meant “sauce”.

When British and Dutch merchants came to Southeast Asia during 1600 seeking spices, porcelain and textiles they quickly began to buy immense quantities of arrack from the Chinese their factories were established on Java and Sumatra to make both fish sauce and arrack. What may be surprising—given fish sauce’s heady scent and England’s reputation for bland food—is that while buying all these barrels of arrack from Chinese merchants in Indonesia, British sailors also acquired a taste for ke-tchup. By the turn of the 18th century, fish sauce and arrack had become as profitable for British merchants as they were for Chinese traders.

Who Invented Ketchup

After the concept of ketchup got to the American & British land they started with all new types of ketchups anything which they could lie their hands on. Initially there were mushroom, walnuts and many other sauces tomato came to Ketchup lately. For the first time in Pennsylvania in 1876 H.J. Heinz Company made ketchup for the first time. It was there head scientist G.F. Mason who got the recipe right without any preservative which could last up to one year. In 1886 the company launched the product in the UK, with further expansion there seven verities of ketchup launched in 1886. Hence, the credit of inventing the ketchup on commercial level goes to Henry J Heinz.

Why Ketchup is Made up of Tomato

The mushrooms which was a supporting ingredient in the early recipe soon became a main component, and from 1750 to 1850 the word ketchup began to mean any number of thin dark sauces made of mushrooms or even walnuts. It was first in Britain during the 19th century that people started adding crushed tomatoes to the ketchup. The tomatoes came very late in the ketchup because earlier people thought that tomatoes were poisonous because they were very similar to a species of plant called the Nightshade.

Why it is Called Ketchup? | Ketchup Vs Catsup

There were two words running in the same parallel space during the 1800’s “ketchup” in Britain and “catsup” was most common in the US for reasons unknown. But then came a sudden interest in the difference between the words catsup and ketchup after an episode of popular TV series Mad Men featured a (fictional) pitch to ketchup company Heinz

Many companies saw this opportunity of commercializing the ketchup but due to lack in quality it often contained mould, yeast, spores, and bacteria, some of which were deadly like containing coal tar and red colour etc. Then in 1876 that is the end of nineteenth century, Henry J. Heinz got success when his chief scientist G.F. Mason developed a preservative free ketchup and sold it commercially for the first time by the F. & J. Heinz Company, in the United States. They first spelled it Catsup but changed it earlier to Ketchup to differentiate it from the competitors. Other companies like Del monte didn’t changed their spelling to Ketchup till 1988. Hence there are no specific reason why the spelling of Ketchup should start with ‘K’ hence, it is just the case of genericizing that is we call the detergent as Surf regardless which company or brand is making it. Since, Heinz sold their product as Ketchup for 140 years and maintained there hold in the market the customer accepted it as ketchup only and with time Del monte also converting there spelling to ketchup.

The American Food and Drug Administration takes into consideration both Catsup, Ketchup and Catchup.

How much Sodium and Sugar in Ketchup?

Sodium chloride which is the major source of sodium is used commonly as a food-flavouring condiment and sometimes as a food preservative. In tomato ketchup it is used as taste enhancer. As yet, no requirement has been specified in FSS Regulations or BIS. But the percentage of sodium chloride ranged from 1.84% (Tops) to 2.58% (Heinz). Similarly for sugars (sucrose) gives a natural taste and uniform texture to the product, in addition to thick density. The addition of sugar in ketchup is for balancing the taste of sourness of tomatoes. No limit or requirement has been set by the national standards. Sugar was found between 17.64% and 29.62%. The highest percentage was in Tasty Wonders and the lowest in Maggi.

Viscosity Of Ketchup

Being a Non-Newtanion Fluid, it’s Viscosity is high and because of this only it’s hard to pour out the bottle. Viscosity of ketchup ranges from 50,000-70,000 Centipoises.

How is Ketchup Made | Ketchup Production Process

Ketchup is made of whole lot of stuff going inside it from vegetables to tomatoes and spices to preservatives. salt (sodium chloride) sugar, spices, spice extracts, vinegar, acetic acid, onions, garlic and chillies, and pectin and alginates as stabilizers.


The tomatoes are chopped and precooked, then pumped into pulping machines, or cyclones, which separate seeds, skins, and stems from the pulp. This pulp is filtered through screens and processed further into ketchup, and some is stored in a form of paste to use later in the year.

Adding ingredients and cooking

The pulp is pumped into cooking tanks or kettles and heated to boiling and kept at temperature above 80°C. Measured amounts of sweeteners, vinegar, salt, spices, and flavourings are added to the tomato pulp. To avoid evaporation of volatile oils they are not added early during the boiling with the spices, salt and sugar. Powders of onion or garlic are usually added which are procured from various firms which do the dehydration. The mixture is cooked for 30-45 minutes and is circulated by rotating blades installed in the cookers or kettles. The temperature is carefully regulated to insure absorption of the ingredients without overcooking.

how is ketchup made

Ketchup Production Process Flow Chart | How Is Ketchup Made |


Once the cooking is completed, the ketchup mixture passes through a finishing machine. Finishers are used to remove excess fiber and particles they do so by the help of screens, creating a smoother consistency. The ketchup is sometimes milled at higher temperatures and pressures to achieve a smoother consistency.

Removing air

The ketchup is de-aerated to prevent discoloration and growth of bacteria. Excess air may cause unattractive air pockets and impede the closure process.


To prevent contamination, the ketchup passes from the receiving tanks to the filling machines at a temperature not lower than 190°F (88°C). The containers are filled with the ketchup and immediately sealed to retain the freshness of the product. Ketchup containers are available in various sizes and shapes.


The containers are cooled to prevent flavour loss through stack burning, which occurs when ketchup stays at high temperatures after cooking is complete. Containers of ketchup are cooled in cold air or cold water.

Labelling and packing

Finally, the ketchup containers are labelled and coded with product information, including ingredients, date and location of manufacture, and shelf-life. The bottled ketchup may be inspected again before shipping. The entire process of ketchup manufacturing generally takes two to three hours.

How Is Ketchup Made Video



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