Supermarket pesto name brands contain cheaper ingredients such as bambooA test of 12 own-brand upright bar and premium pestos – all made in Italy – found a range of additions to the audacity’s traditional four key ingredients of basil, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil.
Which? institute all of the standard pestos were made with between 42 per cent and 49 per cent basil, but also have the capacity for cheaper alternatives to the traditional ingredients such as cashew nuts preferably of pine nuts, or a mix of both.
Olive oil was also substituted with sunflower oil, and parmesan with skimpy expensive Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano cheeses.
All of the standard pestos, separately from from Waitrose’s £1.35 version, used thickeners such as potato pass outs, nut flour, vegetable or even bamboo fibres.
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Standard pesto from Sainsbury’s and Tesco, both £1, and the Co-op (£1.19) also have the capacity for sugar, and the Co-op, Morrisons (£1) and Tesco listed water as an ingredient.
Marks and Spencer’s type jar, the most expensive at £2.10, contained carrot fibres.
All of the supermarkets’ regard pestos were labelled ‘alla Genovese’, relating to the sauce’s extractions in Genoa, all contained between 38 per cent and 50 per cent basil as justly as extra-virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan) and pine nuts.
Regardless, even these contained some surprising extras, with Morrisons (£1.95), Sainsbury’s (£1.50) and Tesco (£2) all summing vegetable or bamboo fibres as thickeners and sugar, and Morrisons also scheduled water as an ingredient.
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The products with the most authentic and ancestral ingredients were Asda Extra Special Genovese Basil Pesto (£1.39) and Waitrose 1 Pesto alla Genovese (£2.70).
The watchdog thought its investigation showed that a higher price did not necessarily mean that the offering would be free of cheaper and possibly unwanted ingredients and urged shoppers to curb the labelling.
Which? director of research Nikki Stopford said: “Pesto has change a staple food in the UK but our research shows that many shoppers may be fare more than they bargain for when it comes to the pesto they are buying – and not by definition in a good way.
“Our advice is not to assume that all pesto contains the that having been said traditional ingredients. Check the ingredients list if authenticity is important to you, or if you are exasperating to avoid certain contents, such as added sugar.”