Kraft Heinz Ezy-Sauce production shutdown leaves country cooks without key ingredient

The news that food maker The Kraft Heinz Company has discontinued a popular condiment has sent waves through Victoria’s regional culinary community.

The food and drink giant has confirmed that it has ‘removed’ Wild’s Ezy-Sauce from its range due to ‘operational issues’.

And, while not everyone uses pickling liquid or sauce enhancer, which is made from a variety of ingredients including ground black pepper, food acid, chili and clove oil, even those who were indifferent to the sauce enjoyed how it changed the flavor of some dishes.

Judith Bysouth says the news took local tomato sauce makers by surprise.(Provided: Judith Bysouth)

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At the 150th annual agricultural show in Natimuk, western Victoria last month, participants in the tomato sauce competition were taken aback.

Organizer Judith Bysouth said she spoke to winners who were “blown away” by the news.

“It’s really putting a spanner in the works for the [tomato sauce] recipe,” she says.

“I use Ezy-Sauce, and the first place winner didn’t use it, but the second place one did. She was totally shocked.”

A resident of Ararat told ABC Wimmera that his father owned a boot repair shop next to the town’s pharmacy.

This pharmacy belonged to the inventor of Ezy-Sauce, TA Wild.

She remembered the smell when Wild was preparing a batch in the shed behind the shop.

Other ABC listeners were appalled by news of the sauce’s disappearance:

Joy: “OMG my right sauces and spices. In stews, tomato sauce, pickles, I cooked my corned beef in them. Where can I sign for a campaign?”

Kay: “What? My family only eats sauce made with this.”

The Kraft Heinz company had not yet responded to ABC’s requests for additional comment.

A display of tomato sauce bottles and certificates.
Attendees at Natimuk’s annual agricultural show were shocked that their favorite sauce enhancer had been dropped.(Provided: Judith Bysouth)

Not everyone is discouraged

Anita LaForgia is a home cook and a member of the Woodend Eves branch of the Country Women’s Association in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges.

She didn’t use Ezy-Sauce herself, although she knew cooks who did and were “devastated” they couldn’t get hold of it anymore.

Full frame of glass jars with white lids of various colorful vegetables.
Ezy-Sauce is used as a pickling liquid and sauce enhancer.(Provided)

‘The joint administrator of the Macedon Ranges Food Group is…lost,’ she told ABC Central Victoria.

“It’s something you use and have because that’s what you’re used to, and I think for those who use Ezy-Sauce, it will be a transition to take that safety blanket off.”

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Heyfield home cooks try to find an alternative to the classic Lattice cookie as a base for vanilla slices
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There were some helpful hints on social media suggesting Ezy-Sauce fans are making their own sauce, with some suggesting a homemade version might be preferable to the bottled mix.

Concerns about the future of Ezy-Sauce arose the same week that a campaign was launched to save Arnott’s Lattice cookies which were also discontinued.

This candy is a favorite among home cooks when making vanilla slices.

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