All-natural and organic foods are often marketed as “bare,” “naked,” and “simple.” We have a new adjective for you: “just.” Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, a mayonnaise that recently popped up on local shelves (Whole Foods,Walmart, Target, ShopRite, andCostco), is dairy-, soy-, egg-, GMO-, gluten-, and cholesterol-free.
As we see it, mayonnaise, like ketchup and mustard, is one of those things you might not even think to go all-natural with. (Or might not want to—ask anybody who’s tried all-natural ketchup.) It’s a condiment, and it’s more than likely you’ve already restricted your use of it to one go-to brand.
So, we asked ourselves, can the “just” movement conquer something as fundamental as mayonnaise? How does it stack up against traditional mayo, in all its “whole eggs and egg yolks” glory? Does the all-natural, dairy-free factor rob it of its taste or textural effect? These are the questions we sought to answer in today’s Taste Test Tuesday.
We pitted Just Mayo against Hellmann’s in a blind taste test. We tempted editors with two pieces of what looked like identical bologna-on-Wonder-Bread sandwiches, but in fact one was smothered with Just Mayo and the other with Hellmann’s. We had testers choose whether they agreed with, disagreed with, or felt neutral about a number of statements regarding each sandwich, including whether “the mayo on this sandwich tastes like it was made with all-natural ingredients” and whether it “tastes like any other mayo.”
Of 10 testers, only three agreed that the Just Mayo sandwich tasted as though it was made with all-natural ingredients; two agreed for Hellmann’s, and the large majority said they felt neutral. Interestingly enough, half of our testers agreed that the Just Mayo sandwich had mayo that tasted like “any other mayo,” while only three said the same of Hellmann’s. An equal number of testers, five, said they agreed that each mayo “adds to (not detracts from) the overall deliciousness of this sandwich” (only one disagreed for Just Mayo, two disagreed for Hellmann’s). Also of note: No one agreed with the statement “you people are crazy, I don’t even taste much” regarding Hellmann’s, while two people agreed regarding Just Mayo.
So what’s the takeaway here? Most of our testers couldn’t identify the all-natural mayo from the brand name, and more thought that the all-natural tasted more like “any other mayo” than Hellmann’s. We attribute these results to the unexpectedly, or normally unnoticed, strong flavor of Hellmann’s. But overall, if you choose the fancy stuff over “normal” mayo, you can do so without sacrificing much of that coveted “mayo” effect—which is sort of a win for Just Mayo.