Many of us have been fooled into believing that a jar of tomato pasta sauce is a relatively health choice to make at the supermarket.
However, popular brands Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s are set the begin labelling many of their sauces and meals as ‘once a week’ foods after revelations they contain a similar amount of sugar, salt and fat as a standard chocolate bar.
A 500g jar of Dolmio bolognaise sauce contains more than six cubes of sugar – the same as a Mars bar, while ready-made tomato soup is on par with a bottle of cider, which contains five cubes.
Uncle Ben’s ready-made rice meals are also getting an overhaul with the company saying they will introduce whole grains and legumes as part of the push to increase the health factor and cut out the bad stuff.
Going one step further, Dolmio says all lasagne meal kits, lasagne sauces, oven bake kits (including macaroni and cheese, carbonara, creamy tomato) and Dolmio pesto will be labelled as ‘occasional’ foods only due to their unhealthy ingredients.
The news has come as a surprise to many people who thought that tomato-based sauces and other ready-made products like these were a healthy choice.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends no more 50g or 10 cubes a of sugar a day, but many of us are unwittingly eating a whole lot more than that thanks to ‘hidden’ sugars in foods like pasta sauce.
Mars, who owns Dolmio, says they are making the changes in a bid to support healthier lifestyles for its customers.
“Our nutrition criteria sets a very high standard for our products, and we also want to help our consumers understand the difference between “everyday” and “occasional” products within a balanced diet,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars food, drinks, and multisales.
Take a look at the breakdown of the fat, sugar and salt levels in each product.
Dolmio Pesto Classic Basil 180g jar
Dolmio Original Lasagne Kit 2 Person 525g Serves 2
Dolmio Original Lasagne Kit Serves 4 807g
Dolmio Sauce for Lasagne Original Cheesy 470g
Dolmio Sauce for Lasagne Original Tomato 500g
Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Macaroni & Cheese 550g
Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Creamy Tomato 551g
Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Carbonara 555g