This is the best ‘tomate frito’ from the Spanish supermarket according to OCU

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tomate frito

This product can be found in virtually every Spanish kitchen. Tomate frito is an indispensable staple in every pantry because of the versatility and convenience of this sauce. The ingredient is used in countless Spanish recipes and not just for pasta.

Although it’s easy to make at home, it’s always handy to have a few jars of a ready-made variety on hand for days when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook. However, it´s important to choose a brand that is of good quality, with a good taste and with healthy ingredients. In Spain, the consumer organisation OCU regularly analyses products available in Spanish supermarkets for quality and health. This time it was the turn of the best brands of ‘tomate frito’ available in the supermarket.

The healthiest choice according to the OCU

In its analysis, the OCU looked at taste, texture, ingredients and nutritional value to determine which commercial tomato frito is the healthiest. OCU’s conclusion: Gallina Blanca’s ‘Tomate Frito Casero’ comes out on top.

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Why Gallina Blanca at number one?

Gallina Blanca has achieved this leading position because the ingredient list is very similar to that of homemade tomato frito. It contains only tomatoes (from concentrate), extra virgin olive oil, sugar, salt and garlic. This product is sold in a 350 gram jar and costs around €2.19 depending on the store. The manufacturer emphasises that the Gallina Blanca tomate frito is made with 100% natural ingredients. Without the addition of preservatives, the sauce is filled hot, hermetically sealed and then pasteurised.

Comparison with other brands

The difference with number two on the list, the ‘Orlando Cero Azúcares’, is big. In addition to the usual tomatoes, this variant is made with sunflower oil and contains less desirable ingredients such as modified corn starch and flavouring.

The worst choice

At the other end of the list is Hacendado’s ‘Tomate Frito Receta Artesana’, available at Mercadona. According to the OCU, this is the least recommended choice due to its high concentration of sugars, saturated fats and salt, in addition to a high caloric content.

‘Tomate frito’, ‘tomate triturado’ and ‘salsa de tomate’

The organisation has an analysis of the labels of 113 products, including ‘tomate triturado’ (mashed tomato), ‘tomate frito’ (fried tomato) and ‘salsa de tomate’ (tomato sauce). Most analysed products receive a grade A or B in the Nutriscore system. Although homemade sauce is always much better, ready-made products do not contain excess sugar, fat or salt.

As for the tomate triturado, it generally consists of natural tomatoes, peeled and cut into very small pieces. In the samples analysed, the majority contain citric acid as one of the ingredients to regulate acidity. It is a risk-free additive.

In most cases, tomato frito also contains oil, sugar, salt and citric acid. This is the only category that is regulated by law, because some ingredients require a minimum or maximum percentage. OCU’s analysis shows that the most common thing is that they contain olive oil instead of sunflower oil. Starch is also found in a large percentage.

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