In Welllington, the cheapest supermarket is Pak’N’Save, and at Pak’N’Save, the cheapest brand is almost always the house brand, Budget.
I am pretty leery of buying house brands, because so often they are such low quality that there is no effective saving in buying them. If you buy food but then go “ew yuk” and throw it out, it is no bargain.
However, the Kilbirnie Pak’N’Save has Budget tinned toms at 64c—almost 30c cheaper than the next cheapest brand. Since my domestic cuisine relies heavily on tinned tomatoes, this is worth investigating. After all, 60c per week is $30 a year. Wouldn’t you like to find $30 down the back of the sofa? I would. That’s a whole lot more tinned tomatoes, for a start. And tomatoes are rich in cancer-preventing lycopenes, which in turn are most available from cooked tomatoes. Clearly, cheap tinned tomatoes posess all the virtues the frugal eater desires. Except, perhaps, taste… read on.
Hitherto my normal brand has been Trident. According to the label, Trident tins are produced in Italy and are 65% tomato (the remainder being tomato juice and who knows what). Budget are also grown in Italy, and admit to 60% tomato. At 400g per tin, that’s only 20 more grammes of tomato. On a unit basis, clearly the Budget ones are still a better deal. But are they good enough?
Yes, dear readers, yes they are. I ventured 64 cents on a trial tin, and I can report that they are at least as good as the quite OK Trident tomatoes I was buying before. In fact, they appear to be identical, leading me to wonder whether the Budget tins are merely rebadged Trident ones. Anyway, bless the European Union’s taxpayers: they are funding our cheap tomatoes.
BONUS TINNED TOMATO FACT: tinned tomatoes are improved by a pinch of white sugar. It may not be that vine-ripened taste, but no one has to know.
Bon appetit. Or, even, Buon appetito!