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Brand Test: Pasta Sauce – March 11th

In honor of National Noodle Month, we figured it was time to put some top pasta sauces to the test to see which brand deserves to blanket our next plate of spaghetti.

We sampled three national brands: Newman’s Own®, Classico® and Mezzetta®, each in the Roasted Garlic variety. Before tasting, we spent some time looking, smelling and spooning each to get a sense for appetite appeal, aroma and texture.

Based on appearance alone, Mezzetta® would have won hands-down, with its rich color and chunky texture. But the aroma hinted at something not quite right with the taste…rather bland with an indescribable “off” flavor that we couldn’t put our finger on. In taking a closer look at the ingredients, it could have been the Pinot Noir Wine (which normally we’re huge fans of, but in this case, it just didn’t seem to work). And, at nearly double the price of the other two, its fate was sealed.

On the other hand, Newman’s Own® had an unimpressive appearance, with relatively few chunks and a thinner consistency than it’s two competitors. Then we tasted it and – WOW! – it had an amazingly good flavor with a nice blend of tomatoes, spices and garlic. This was the only brand that listed sugar in its ingredients, which did a nice job of balancing out the acidity of the tomatoes.

But in the end (drumroll please….), Classico® emerged our victor. It really had it all: flavor, texture, aroma and appearance. Unbelievably chunky with a nice blend of spices and a savory, balanced garlic flavor. The real difference? Diced tomatoes as the first ingredient, giving the sauce an authentic, Italian homemade appearance. Like Mezzetta®, the chunks of basil and other spices were very visable, and it boasted a rich red color.

A high-five to all 3 for their all-natural ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup!

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