Buyer Be-Aware Monday: Et tu, Wolfgang Puck?

Happy Monday, everyone! (hoping that is not an oxymoronic expression for you today!)

If it’s Monday, it’s time for a Buyer Be-Aware segment. Let’s start off with a quickie quiz – 3 questions:

1. How much sodium does your body need? (mg per day)

a) zero b) 500 mg c) 1500 mg d) 2300 mg

2. How much sodium are Canadians currently consuming per day, in mg?

a) 1000 mg b) 3400 mg c) 5000 mg d) 10 000 mg

3) What is the recommended intake of sodium per day for adults?

a) zero mg b) 500 mg c) 1500 mg d) 2300 mg

ANSWERS: (It’s a personal pet peeve when you have to turn a paper upside down, turn to another page, or search high and low for quiz answers, so I will spare you the effort! Question #1 = b, Question #2 = b, Question #3 = d)

(all stats come from this source)

Let’s get on with the meat and potatoes (a potentially salty meal!) of this post: SODIUM CONTENT IN TINNED SOUPS.

A can of soup is such a great concept, in theory. What is faster, cheaper, easier to prepare and eat, offers more choice in flavours than a tin of soup? Soups can be a quick lunch for the office, a warming meal on a cold night, a picker-upper when you’re sick, a secret-ingredient base for yummy desserts.

Another pop quiz – name a company that manufactures tinned soups. What popped to your mind? This giant?

CAMPBELLS!!!

That’s what my mind thinks of, anyway!

The idea for today’s post came when I was poking about the Amy’s Organic products at a local health food store. Thought I might try some sort of vegetarian soup for lunch:

a wide selection of offerings for a veggie lover!

…then I happened to glance at the sodium content of this one…

yum - minestrone!

The stats on our friend Amy? This one rings in at 580 mg per 250 ml/1 cup serving. Since the tin is 398 ml, if you eat the tin as your lunch (entirely possible), you’re consuming 923 mg sodium! I put poor Amy back on the shelf. (Many thanks to my high school math for allowing me to use an algebraic formula for the computation, above!)

Intrigued now, I spent some time among the soups at Vincenzo‘s (neighbourhood specialty store). As a fan of the Food Network Channel, (watch Top Chef!!!) Wolfgang Puck  is a name I recognize and regard with awe!

not your average flavour selections!

Hey Hey!! If you’re going to “treat” yourself to canned soup, maybe a prestigious brandname is the one to go with!

lentils + vegetables = balanced vegetarian dish!

Well, Wolfgang, you come in with better stats than Amy, but I still passed you by. This puck-a-licious soup checked in with 490 mg sodium per 250 ml/1 cup. (SIDENOTE: notice the labelling info here – if you just glance at the sodium content, you may be led to believe that the sodium listed is for the entire tin…but ONE SERVING does not equal ONE TIN – be aware!) So if you open the tin and slurp it all up, you’re actually getting a 780 mg sodium bang for your buck.

So as not to just pick on Wolfgang and His Soups, I checked another offering on the Vincenzo’s shelf:

a shelf of soups, lined with all the labels facing forwards, is so pleasing to my love of order! 🙂

I know nothing about Baxters, have nothing against Baxters, just call me Switzerland when it comes to Baxters. Would I buy a Baxters? Bet your bootie, no! This one sounds good…

squash! great source of vitamins and nutrients!

Wowser! Would you like a whopping serving of sodium to go with this nutritious veg? How about 730 mg per 250 ml/1 cup serving? This tin, the largest of our sampling thus far, is 540 ml. So eat the tin (less likely, I realize, as it’s over two cups, but if you’re hungry or simply don’t want leftovers, entirely possible), and you’ll get…1576 mg sodium!!

I couldn’t wait to go pick on Campbells!!! It felt like such an easy target, as I guessed that the sodium content would be highest with this King of the Canned Soups. I made a beeline for the soup aisle…

let me turn those labels around (rubs hands in expectant glee!)

And? And?!…Here you go: Campbells Cheddar Cheese clocks in at 870 mg per 250 ml/1cup while Vegetable rings in with 650 mg per 250 ml/1 cup. It’s so fun to be right (pats self on back)!! If we look at all of the examples, above, the Campbells Cheddar Cheese *wins* the prize for most salt per serving.

As always, I want only to draw these stats to your attention. Just because a soup is organic, vegetarian or high falutin does not mean it is “better” than the run-of-the-mill offering. For sure, there is a time and a place for a tin of soup. Just BE AWARE and balance the rest of your meals accordingly.

Final stats: price. (This could be a good Price is Right game! “Put the soups in order of price and win a Pontiac!”) Care to guess the price points?? Remember: we’ve looked at Amy’s, Wolfgang Puck, Baxters, and Campbells….(thinking, thinking…)

Here you go: Wolfgang Puck = $3.99; Amy’s = $3.65 Baxters = $2.99, Campbells = $2.19 (cheddar) and $0.59 (vegetable on sale).

So to end on a positive note, think about whipping up your own pot o’ soup! Not hard! Not expensive! I leave you with a link to this website where you’ll find a few soups to sup on! Bon appetit!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, Mondays feel like Fridays. Working retail, my schedule of late has been Friday, Saturday (not this past week when we had Baby C’s party), Sunday and Monday. So Tuesday is my Saturday! I’m looking forward to quite a social day tomorrow!

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