Marketing Bake Beans

Marketing, is to make goods available to buyers in a planned way that encourages people to buy more of them, for example by advertising, creating a demand for a product or products…

Heinz baked beans have taken England by storm.

In 1886 Henry J. Heinz shipped the first products to the (posh) London department store, Fortnum & Mason. Those products included the infamous “Baked Beans”.

The price a hefty nine pence, which is the equivalent in today’s market at 2.15 pounds – $2.70. Hell of a price for a can of pork and beans. You see those “baked beans” having tomato sauce as part of the ingredients is not baked beans… so strike up that win, for Heinz.

Tilly: Pork and beans? Don’t think pork has ever ventured near a can of the blessed beans.

Olive: Tilly, as I said that is what we here in America call your “baked beans”.

They did well, but Heinz still was not satisfied with the sales numbers so in, 1927, Heinz and his marketing staff came up with the brilliant idea of selling the British populace the idea that they are perfect for Breakfast. Hence the baked beans on toast nonsense…today Heinz’s sells 1.5 plus million cans of their “baked beans” every day in the U.K.

Tilly: Cannot deny it was an excellent marketing ploy. Promoting a second-class protein which was also high fiber as a nutritious, easy meal was a win. The sickly sweet tomato sauce has been modified, I believe. Children were addicted to the sugar content, which was not so healthy …

Olive: Sugar or no sugar, y’all over there still bought into eating that stuff on toast at breakfast.

First off, these are not “baked beans”. You see true baked beans DO NOT have anything related to tomatoes. It is maple syrup, which is the traditional Native American recipe or, molasses… among other ingredients…

Tilly: Both molasses and maple syrup have health benefits and, I believe, were not used in excessive quantities, if only because of the cost.

Olive: Molasses and maple syrup are one of the main ingredients of true baked beans no matter the cost.

So just what are Heinz Baked Beans? Here in the states, we call them “Pork and Beans”

The ingredients are simple, white or navy beans, catsup or tomato sauce, water, and pork fat cooked together and enjoyed as a side dish for either lunch or dinner. NOT for breakfast on toast.

Tilly: Well, one can be uppity about it, but what is wrong with beans for breakfast? They are nutritious – a dollop of Marmite stirred into them makes them more so. They are also economical and those on restricted budgets are probably grateful for them – with or without the toast. As is porridge which is enjoying a return to the menu.

Olive: Tilly, I am surprised they don’t put them on porridge also.

Now before we get to the recipes, below is the average British Breakfast.

Called a ‘fry-up’,

The full English breakfast comprises of 2 rashers* back bacon, fried egg, sausage, mushrooms, baked beans, hot buttered toast, grilled tomatoes, accompanied with tea or coffee.

Tilly: Don’t think this is the average British breakfast these days – expensive and time-consuming. Often seen in motorway cafés as a meal of choice, enjoyed in hotels when guests have (probably) more time to relax and enjoy it (and it is prepared by someone else!), and a ‘treat’ at weekends for families. You’ll notice that the selection doesn’t include steak, which I have often seen on menus for breakfast in the USA and South Africa. More likely to see people eating fruit, yoghourt, porridge, croissants, toast in any combination.

Olive: What is wrong with steak for breakfast?

*Word of note: Rasher is a thin flat piece of bacon. Total Calories: 1126 with 74.1 of fat so what is the daily recommended intake. For men, it is 2500 and for women 2000. Makes you wonder what they have for lunch or dinner?

Tilly: A rasher is a thin slice of bacon or ham, “1590s, a word of unknown origin. Perhaps from Middle English rash “to cut,” variant of rase “to rub, scrape out, erase.” However, early lexicographer John Minsheu explained it in 1627 as a piece “rashly or hastily roasted.” The original rashers weren’t that thin, either, as they would have been hand cut, rather than machine cut.

Olive: HAM, thought rasher was just bacon.

So if you have the desire to make your British version of baked beans aka pork and beans. See recipe below.

Ketchup to Heinz UK Beans:

120 ml (1/2 c.) Heinz Tomato Ketchup

240 ml (1 c.) water

1.5 tsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. White table sugar

1 tin haricot or navy beans drained

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

The secret is in the beans. When you buy canned beans, the water is super thick, mix that with pureed store-bought tomatoes and add only dry ingredients to keep it smooth.  The sauce is almost perfect. This way you can control the sugar and the salt.

Tilly: Nah – not Heinz tomato ketchup – used to be packed with sugar as a bulking agent and a means to ‘addict’ children and adults to its sweetness. I gather the recipe has been modified to accommodate health requirements. But it is still too sweet – so lose the tablespoon of sugar! The cornstarch is unnecessary, too, just use some of the water from the can or from cooking the beans, if you have cooked them from dried. Heinz baked beans. I don’t see any mention of pork in this recipe, just as I didn’t see any mention of pork in this recipe, just as I didn’t see any mention of pork in Heinz baked beans.

Olive: Tilly, doesn’t have to have pork in them, here on this side of the planet if tomato is used it is Pork and Beans. Of course in the south we would use pork.


You can try truly baked beans.

Maple Baked Beans


4 cups of water

1 pound dried navy or butter beans

1 Tablespoon butter / or a bit of pork fat

1 medium onion, sliced

1½ teaspoons salt

1 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ginger


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Add water and beans to a large pot.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.

Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of the liquid. (Add water to make 2 cups, if necessary.)

In a small skillet, melt the butter.

Add the onions and sauté until golden, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the onion, salt, maple syrup, dry mustard, and ginger to the beans, and transfer the mixture to a large baking pot.

Cover the pot and bake in the middle of the oven for 2 hours.

Occasionally check the beans and add more water..

After 2 hours, uncover the beans and bake an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Let stand about 10 minutes before serving hot.

Serves 10 to 12.


Olive and Tilly

Tilly: Indeed – enjoy. And at breakfast – with toast, not on it – if you so desire. I bet cowboys ate them for breakfast.

Olive: Yes Tilly cowboys ate beans for breakfast, but not on toast. Beans were pretty much what they ate.  





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  • Cat Connor (Author)

    The ‘baked beans’ we eat in NZ do not have sugar or anything sweet in them. Oak make the best ones. They tend to be a fast lunch or dinner with toast. Unless, it’s the weekend and My Knight is home – then he’ll have sausages from our local butcher, fried tomatoes, baked beans, egg, mushrooms and toast. It’s rare to have a breakfast like that, and I don’t join him in it. I always have porridge and yogurt. 🙂
    Interesting post!

  • Jerry Bell

    Well, ladies. Glad to see you writing again and filling us all up with history and knowledge about food. I must say, today’s reading is on the mark. I have not dipped into beans for breakfast, but I know that, given the right circumstances, I would. My baked beans have molasses, but I’m ashamed to say they don’t darken the oven door. That is because when my kids see me stirring them up, they hound me to get them on their plates. So, I usually pace them with the stove and a Dutch oven. It takes a little less time, and I don’t have to listen to the nagging. Maybe I should treat the rug rats to some truly baked beans. I’ll try it next time.

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