Taste test: Canned ravioli

One of the best things one of our panelists said about canned ravioli is that she regularly serves the pasta to her children. Overall, our tasters were unimpressed with canned ravioli. They tasted more can than meat and they didn't really like the texture of the pasta pillows. That said, canned ravioli is an inexpensive, tummy-filling meal that would please plenty in a pinch. We tried seven brands, so we know our panelist isn't the only one buying canned ravioli for her children, or anyone else. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Winn-

Dixie/49
Great

Value/46
Bon

Italia/34
How'd it look? Thick.Hearty.Bold, red color.
Judges' comments This store brand's pasta beat out some of the more recognized canned raviolis because of its hefty filling and thicker pasta pillows. Judges enjoyed the strong tomato flavor of the sauce as well as the obvious spices, including oregano. These raviolis also held their size and shape while they were heated. "I don't know a kid who would turn this down," said one judge.Good beef flavor made Walmart's brand of ravioli appealing to judges. They also liked the fluffy texture of the pasta and the smooth flavor of the sauce. Some ravioli brands in our tasting skimped on the beef filling. That was not the case with the Great Value brand.Aldi's store brand of ravioli had decent servings of beef and good color. Some judges would have preferred more boldness in the flavor. One said she tasted more butter than tomato in the sauce. But that wasn't a deal-breaker for a couple of judges who liked the creamy texture and glossy look of the pasta. And, they said, children probably would prefer the butter over a spicier sauce.
Would they buy? Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1 for a 15-ounce can.75 cents for a 15-ounce can

from Walmart.
79 cents for a 15-ounce can

from Aldi.
Also Sampled: Chef Boyardee ($1.49 for a 15-ounce can from Publix, 29 points); Publix (99 cents for a 15-ounce can, 27 points); Market Pantry (74 cents for a 15-ounce can from Target, 21 points); and Hannaford (89 cents for a 15-ounce can from Sweetbay, 19 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of four. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail to

jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: Canned ravioli 02/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:30am]

    

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