Almost certainly, most households will have at least one tin of baked beans in their store cupboard. First canned in the 1860s mass production of tinned baked beans started in 1895 by H J Heinz &Co in Pittsburgh. It was very much an American product at this point, containing haricot beans, molasses, brown sugar and pork sausages. Baked beans first arrived in the U.K in 1886, arriving as a luxury item sold to Fortnum and Mason, retailing at nine old pence a can, £2.15 in today’s money. The market gradually extended to less exclusive stores throughout the U.K.
It could be said that “Beans mean Toast”, as this is a common use of the product, which is believed to have started in 1927. Perhaps you also like to eat beans as a filling for a jacket potato, or with a cooked breakfast? However, consumed baked beans are a cheap and filling source of protein. Thanks to the price wars of the 1990s suppliers other than Heinz brought the price down, although Heinz remains the chief distributor in the U.K.
The endurance of the product was ensured when the Ministry of Food, classified beans as an essential food during World War 2 and so was exempt from rationing. The pork sausage was removed, and beans became a vegetarian food.
In 1928 Heinz opened a factory in Harlesden, London, no longer shipping them from Pittsburgh. The recipe was adjusted to British tastes, replacing the maple syrup & molasses with a tomato sauce. . Heinz later opened a factory in Wigan, producing 383,000 tons per annum! In 1951 Heinz gained the Royal Warrant, as supplier to the Queen and so became a British icon.
The slogan “Beanz Meanz Heinz” appearing in 1967, was voted the best advertising slogan of all time in 2012.
The UK remains the biggest market for Heinz beans. In 2002 the British Dietetic Association allowed the product to be advertised as one of the five a day of fruit or vegetable portions, recommended for good health. It has been shown that baked beans lower cholesterol.
There are countless adaptions for eating baked beans. If you are in a real hurry, you can eat them straight from the tin, or if you have more time, add them to your own recipes. However, you eat them Enjoy!