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Chef's Cupboard and Massel liquid stocks

The CHOICE Shonky for Water at What Price? goes to ... Chef's Cupboard and Massel liquid stocks.

shonkys hall of shame 2009
CHOICE staff
CHOICE staff


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Chicken stock is the liquid you get from boiling bits of chicken carcass, vegetables and seasoning in water. 

These days, most people don't bother making it themselves – and why would you, when you can buy it ready-made from the supermarket? 

We took a look at what's around, and some of the liquid stocks triggered a distinct blip on our Shonky radar.

Overlooking the fact that many chicken stocks have never actually been anywhere near any part of a chicken, what really surprised us was that of the seven brands of liquid stocks we found in shops, only two – both gourmet stocks available at gourmet prices – were genuine liquid from production to shelf.

The other supermarket varieties were reconstituted from powder and/or liquid concentrate. 

So when you buy some liquid stocks, you're paying an extra $2.50 per litre for the convenience of pre-added water.

The ones made from powder, ALDI's Chefs' Cupboard and Massel, are particularly galling. 

All that extra packaging of the Tetra Paks and transporting unnecessary water, when you could just as easily add the powder to the water yourself at home.

OK, so it's not quite up there with water purporting magical mineral properties being shipped from Europe or the Pacific islands. 

And in these time-poor times, you might consider $2.50 a fair price for saving the few seconds it takes to add your own water. 

But really, if it's reconstituted, particularly from powder, shouldn't this at least be made clear on the label so we can make an informed choice about what we're really buying?