Baked beans and sausages leave Marlborough man wanting more
For 30 long years Darryn McKenzie dreamed of the day he would once again tuck into a can of baked beans with sausages.
The Marlborough man had lived and worked all over the world in the construction industry.
He missed the bright lights of Blenheim, but what he missed more was the tantalising taste of Wattie's Baked Beans with Sausages.
McKenzie, or "Macca", had worked in China, Singapore and Africa, but nowhere could replicate the authentic taste of his favourite canned meal.
So when McKenzie decided to move back to Seddon after three decades away, he had only one thing on his mind.
But as McKenzie stirred the pot readying a late night snack, he realised there were only four sausages among the beans. And they seemed smaller.
"I couldn't believe it, I was so disappointed," he said.
"They were a miserable shape, they were finger joints, not sausages, about half the size of my pinkie finger."
McKenzie had grown up in a large family in Seddon, 25 kilometres south of Blenheim.
There were no free lunches in the McKenzie household.
Around the family dinner table it was sometimes a struggle for survival up against seven hungry siblings.
"When I was a kid mum used to feed us Wattie's baked beans and sausages," he said.
"At any given time there would be three or four of us fighting over how much, and who got what.
"The sausages and beans were delicious but I always had to fight with my sisters and brothers [to see] who would get the most.
"If there were an odd number of sausages in the can then they always got the extra sausage.
"I never got as much as I wanted."
Distraught at the new contents, he tried to explain his disappointment to his Chinese-born wife, Candy.
But anyone who had not grown up on baked beans with sausages could never know the true extent of his sorrow.
"It was common knowledge when we were younger that the sausages were the size of farmers' fingers," he said.
He thought Wattie's had made the sausages smaller to keep customers salivating for more.
"The taste hasn't changed and the essential guts of what is in the can is still there, like the delicious thick tomato sauce."
It was the size and number of sausages that irked him.
"It's a case of the sausages that were, are now the sausages that were not."
A Heinz Wattie's spokesman said it was good to know McKenzie thought the flavour was still a hit, but added the Marlborough man must have been unlucky with his sausage count.
"The sausage recipe has changed slightly in the course of time with the objective to reduce fat and salt which we'd hope the consumer will be pleased to know," the spokesman said.
"On occasions a can of product is produced with not enough sausages, but, we are pleased to say, this tends to be unusual."
Sausages were added to the can using special equipment, he said.
"If the weight is incorrect additional sausages can be added."
Wattie's started making baked beans in 1944, and last year produced around 500,000 cans of baked beans with sausages in two different sizes; 420 grams and 300g.
"In terms of popularity of Wattie's baked bean products this is in the top 3.
"We appreciate that the consumer has had a disappointing experience, and we would be more than happy to send a long-time lover of this product such as this gentleman, some cans of Wattie's Baked Beans with Sausages to compensate for this experience."
- The Marlborough Express