Why exactly do we dip fries in ketchup?

Potatoes and ketchup are an essential combination in gastronomic culture. We tell you the origins and history of this eternal relationship.

Click here to read the Spanish version.
A survey, conducted by Buzzfeed, revealed that 84% of fries lovers opt for ketchup as a dipping sauce. Even so, the ketchup we know today has nothing to do with its origins. It underwent many changes before adapting to the taste of potato chips. Let’s talk about the evolution of this magical condiment.


Ketchup has been around for centuries, but in a completely different form. It all began with a primitive preparation created in southern China in 300 B.C., not from tomatoes, but from fish pickled with soy and waste products left over from the slaughter of meat.

The tomato-based red sauce did not appear until almost a century later, at the beginning of the 20th century: a key moment when it began to spread to tables and refrigerators all over the world. But who exactly was its ideologist or architect? There are two divergent stories about how the sauce came about. One holds that it was scientist James Mease who created gravy in 1812, according to the New England Historical Society. The other version claims that it was H.J. Heinz who invented it after exploring the world of glass jars in his mother’s kitchen.

Whether these theories are true or not, what is certain is that the Heinz brand was the one that really popularized and eternalized ketchup in the collective imagination, as well as its eternal link with French fries. A fashion that had its heyday in the 1940s thanks to the rise of fast food and dinners in the United States, where they began to be offered together to enchant customers through this fascinating combination. Heinz was thus the first brand to popularize ketchup, and to transform and improve its recipe for the future, expanding its influence around the world.