Pasta sauces

Ready-made pasta sauces are quick and easy to prepare but our expert tasters were unimpressed.
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  • Updated:4 Jun 2006

02.Results table


Brand (in rank order within groups) Score1
Expert tasters’ comments2 Energy3
(kJ / serve)
Total fat3
(g / serve)
(% upper RDI)*
Price per
serve ($)**
Tomato –based (serve size 125g)
SAN REMO Fresh Traditional Napoletana (A) 64 Not unpleasant; reasonable authenticity 388 5.6 35 420 1.18
BARILLA Napoletana 61 Acidic and sharp in taste but some positive flavour 333 4.6 33 400 0.99
DOLMIO Tomato, Onion & Basil Chunky 61 I could actually taste a tomato flavour 289 0.3 27 570 0.64
PAUL NEWMANS OWN Tomato, Onion and Garlic Classic 61 Not as harsh as some of the others 210 1.6 35 750 0.70
RAGULETTO Napolitana Classic Tomato 49 A vinegary and harsh taste; lack of any tomato flavour 345 1.6 21 500 0.50
LEGGO’S Napoletana 43 A little bland and ‘gloopy’; it reminds me of tinned tomato soup 383 3.7 26 575 0.60
RAGULETTO Napolitana Classic Tomato Low Salt 43 A bit too sweet and acidic; just no flavour 331 1.9 7 500 0.50
LATINA Fresh Italian Tomato & Garlic (A) 34 Lack of any flavour depth or sweetness; acidic and watery 320 3.2 9 425 1.31
Pesto (serve size 45g)
DOLMIO Basil Pesto 52 Little flavour of parmesan or pinenuts, or even garlic 320 7.2 11 165 0.87
BARILLA Pesto alla Genovese con Basilico Fresco 46 This isn’t too bad, but the colour isn’t good 983 24.9 28 190 1.08
LEGGO’S Pesto Concentrato Creamy Basil and Pinenut 16 Start again 560 11.9 13 190 0.85
Carbonara (serve size 125g)
LATINA Fresh Creamy Carbonara (A) 22 Really poor; too creamy 782 13.5 15 425 1.31
LEGGO’S Carbonara 22 No traditional taste or flavour 563 10.6 30 565 0.62
SAN REMO Fresh Traditional Carbonara (A) 16 It just isn’t close to the real thing 1255 27.4 42 400 1.24

Table notes

* RDI: Recommended daily intake.
** Based on prices we paid in Sydney in March 2006.
(A) ‘Fresh’ sauces with more limited shelf-life, from the supermarket chiller cabinet.

1 Score
This is the average of the three experts’ overall scores.

2 Experts’ comments
These are representative comments compiled from the tasters’ individual notes.

3 Energy and total fat
The manufacturers’ recommended serve sizes vary, so for ease of comparison we used a standard serve size for each flavour type and calculated kilojoules, total fat and sodium per serve from the figures stated in the nutrition information panel on the label. You’d probably serve less of the pesto than the other sauces, which we took into account.

4 Sodium
Calculated from the amount of sodium per serve and the maximum recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults (2300 mg). Small children should have less, and many of these sauces are a bit too salty to give them often.


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