HP Sauce, once famously linked to Birmingham, is at the centre of an internet storm after owners Heinz boasted of its UK origins – five years after closing its Aston factory.
The US food conglomerate’s latest marketing campaign calls HP ‘the UK’s Number One brown sauce’ on its Facebook page.
But users of the social networking site attacked Heinz for glorifying its British history whilst manufacturing the condiment in Holland, where production moved back in 2007.
Heinz’s Facebook page says: “HP, the UK’s number one brown sauce, has been adding oomph to your favourite dishes since 1903.”
The food giant adds: “The original recipe was invented and developed in 1899 by Frederick Gibson Garton, a grocer from Nottingham.
“Garton sold the recipe for the sum of £150 to settle a debt with Edwin Samson Moore, the founder of the Midlands Vinegar Company, who launched what we know and love today as HP Sauce.”
But Facebook users attacked Heinz, with one saying: “Your new advertising campaign is awful. This, combined with moving production out of the UK, is making this lifelong customer change brands.”
Another said: “If HP sauce is so British, why is it made in the Netherlands? I won’t be buying another bottle unless it’s produced here in the UK.”
The sauce was produced for decades at Aston Cross in Birmingham, but a storm erupted in May 2006 when Heinz announced plans to switch production to Holland.
The move led to a nationwide protest over the factory closure and loss of 125 jobs in the city with the factory shutting for good in 2007.
A spokesman for HP Sauce said: “There is nothing new about where it is made. We announced that HP Sauce production was moving to Holland six years ago as a viable alternative was not available, and the place of manufacturer is clearly stated on the label.”