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The Reason McDonald's Ketchup Tastes Different From Other Brands

McDonald's fries and ketchup
McDonald's fries and ketchup - 8th.creator/Shutterstock

There's just something about McDonald's that hits different. If you're eating it fresh rather than letting it sit while its being taken home, McDonald's food has a quality that seems to transcend the ingredients themselves. You might've wondered how that's possible, or if it's purely a psychological trick you're brain is playing on you.

Turns out, it isn't. McDonald's does a few things differently with its products, and that remarkable eye for detail tends to produce surprising results. The company may have a surprisingly tasty collection of dipping sauces, but their ketchup has a compelling quality of its own, too. In particular, McDonald's ketchup isn't a commercially-available brand like Heinz or Hunt's, it's their own proprietary blend -- and that makes all the difference. You might think this means they add something unique to the mix, but you'd be wrong. Instead, it's all about what they're taking away from it.

Read more: Things McDonald's Employees Really Want You To Be Aware Of

McDonald's Ketchup Is Basically Heinz But With Fewer Ingredients

Red tomatoes
Red tomatoes - Eli_asenova/Getty Images

The ingredients matter here. That persistent rumor that McDonald's puts honey in its ketchup isn't true, but while McDonald's and Heinz ketchup are similar, they're not identical. Both contain tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, water, salt, and "natural flavors," but that's where McDonald's stops and Heinz keeps going. Heinz adds onion powder and a spice they refuse to name -- whatever that spice is (working theories range from cumin to allspice to mustard powder), those two ingredients make all the difference.

But they might not be the only difference. While companies have to list the ingredients in their products, they don't have to list the specific proportions of those ingredients. Adding more tomato concentrate could explain why McDonald's ketchup tastes more like tomato (and why it seems a brighter red than Heinz). Whatever they're doing, it really seems to pop.

McDonald's Also Puts This Much Effort Into Other Products

McDonald's soda cup
McDonald's soda cup - emka74/Shutterstock

McDonald's actually does this proprietary thing with other items, too. In particular, they're very particular about soda -- and since both Coke and Sprite from McDonald's taste different, the results speak for themselves. First, they only use filtered carbonated water to add to their mixtures. They also slightly overcarbonate them to account for melting ice, which is why McDonald's soda seems to stay carbonated for longer than the same soda from a bottle or can. Most fountain sodas come delivered in plastic bags, but McDonald's has them brought in stainless steel containers, which preserves freshness. Most importantly, they pre-chill both the water and syrup at just above freezing temperatures, because colder soda means better soda.

McDonald's didn't wind up on top of the fast food mountain by accident; it's little tricks like these that put (and keep) them there. That attention to detail on things like ketchup and soda may seem excessive, but the end results really show that it matters.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.