Traditionalists were fuming - celebrity chef Marco Pierre White proclaimed that the new taste was 'disgusting' and fans bombarded the sauce's Facebook page, calling on Heinz to 'bring back the salt'. Heinz reacted by claiming the reduced salt had 'not affected the taste'.
HOW I SEE IT
John Meakin, director, Edelman
Any reformulation of a classic brand is fraught with danger. While responsible food manufacturers must do what is necessary to remain in tune with the health agenda and in the Government's good books, hardcore fans will resist any tampering with the product they love.
Those old enough to remember the 'New Coke' debacle of the 1980s will also remember the lengths to which Coca-Cola had to go to turn around that particular PR disaster. And while 'HP-gate' is not in the same league, I am sceptical of those who suggest the whole story has been manufactured for publicity purposes.
Heinz must now rebuild the trust of many HP sauce lovers. Facebook has been the focus for most negative sentiment, so some proper, thought-through social media engagement should be the starting point - and quickly.