Canned food can taste BETTER than fresh ingredients when cooked in dishes including pie and curry, study suggests

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  • Taste tests found no significant preference for fresh over canned ingredients

Cheap canned food tastes just as good if not better than fresh ingredients when used in recipes such as chicken and mushroom pie, curry, fish cakes and pasta bake.

Blind taste tests found there was no significant preference for fresh over canned ingredients in the majority of dishes.

And in some cases, people preferred the taste and texture of dishes made with canned ingredients.

The study was carried out by experts at Manchester Metropolitan University, who also found fresh had no significant nutritional advantage.

A selection of 15 recipes were developed in two variants, one using fresh ingredients and the other using selected canned ingredients.

Blind taste tests found there was no significant preference for fresh over canned ingredients in the majority of dishes (Stock Image)

Blind taste tests found there was no significant preference for fresh over canned ingredients in the majority of dishes (Stock Image)

A selection of 15 recipes were developed in two variants, one using fresh ingredients and the other using selected canned ingredients. The results found no significant difference when comparing 11 of the 15 dishes (Stock Image)

A selection of 15 recipes were developed in two variants, one using fresh ingredients and the other using selected canned ingredients. The results found no significant difference when comparing 11 of the 15 dishes (Stock Image)

These were tasted by 100 people who were asked to blind taste and compare the two, based on taste, aroma and texture.

The results found no significant difference when comparing 11 of the 15 dishes. Canned was considered much better when used in a chicken and mushroom pie and a pasta bake, while fresh was a clear winner on beef chilli and roast potatoes.

Researchers said: ‘Some 79 per cent of participants preferred the pasta bake recipe when made with canned ingredients, particularly enjoying the texture of the canned tomatoes over fresh in the recipe.

‘The chicken and mushroom pie recipe scored highly with 61 per cent of taste testers preferring the overall flavour and aroma of the pie when using Princes Chicken in White Sauce.

‘Over half (57 per cent) said they preferred the vegetable curry and salmon fishcake recipes using canned ingredients due to the more consistent flavour throughout the dishes.’

The study also demonstrated that canned ingredients are not just for savoury recipes but can also be successfully used for sweet dishes.

Canned was considered much better when used in a chicken and mushroom pie and a pasta bake, while fresh was a clear winner on beef chilli and roast potatoes (Stock Image)

Canned was considered much better when used in a chicken and mushroom pie and a pasta bake, while fresh was a clear winner on beef chilli and roast potatoes (Stock Image)

Researchers said: ’56 per cent of participants prefer the Chocolate Pear Loaf when made with canned pear halves and 50 per cent preferred the Apple Crumble recipe when made with canned ingredients.’

Dr Matt Knight, senior lecturer in Food, said: ‘Our sensory evaluation found that the use of canned ingredients in place of selected fresh ingredients had little to no effect on the overall taste and enjoyment of the majority of dishes.

‘Additionally, nutritional comparisons indicated that the macronutrient content of canned foods was comparable to that of their fresh counterparts.’

The research was funded by canned food companies through the Love Canned Food campaign, who insist the results are based on blind and independent taste tests.

The campaign’s Jeremy Gibson said: ‘Switching from fresh to canned doesn’t mean that families have to forgo taste to enjoy affordable, convenient and nutritious meals.’

The organisation said it funded the research to debunk the myth that fresh is always best. It also highlighted that canned foods are good value with studies showing shoppers can save £656 a year by buying canned food rather than fresh and frozen.

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