VW in the sauce over “Ketchupgate” scandal

VW in the sauce over “Ketchupgate” scandal

Volkswagen has messed with its biggest-selling product, and its workers aren’t happy about it. No, it’s not the Golf or even the Polo. And it’s sure not anything to do with cleaning up diesel emissions.

The biggest-selling single product with a Volkswagen badge is its currywurst sausage and this month it changed the ketchup across its European plants. Its workers are outraged at the outsaucing. Currywurst is a northern German staple, a combination of bockwurst, ketchup and curry powder that was born of the austerity of post-war Berlin. Volkswagen sells 7 million of them a year, including to its own workforce.

The German media dubbed it ketchupgate, which sounds a whole lot nicer than Volkswagen’s last “-gate”.

Volkswagen had a contract with a US food company to supply the sauce, but last year it allowed 12 contractors to bid on brewing up a new ketchup recipe as close as possible to the original for its cafeterias and supermarkets in the towns near them.

German publication Handelsblatt reported that the winning bidder, Munich’s Develey, reduced the fat and sugar content, fiddled the ratio of the 21 spices involved and added more actual tomato paste. While the new recipe passed hundreds of tests and clinics, it failed the most important test of all — inside Volkswagen’s cafeterias.

Workers attacked the sauce on the company’s intranet system, although the boss of catering insisted the issue wasn’t the sauce but that the company told the workers of the change. Volkswagen insists it will make changes to the recipe — on the 45th anniversary of the introduction of the original sauce — until its workers are happy again.

While Volkswagen sells almost 11 million cars a year globally, it sold 6.8-million of its bockwurst sausages last year — or about 18 000 a day — all made in its own butcher’s shop in the Wolfsburg plant to a recipe that dates back to 1973. – BD Motor News (Pic: WikiMedia Commons)

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