• Posted by CERC India
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Ready-to-eat-meals: Salt and fat content a concern

Since high fat and salt content can lead to various health problems, we decided to find out just how much of these are packed into a serving of your favourite ready-to-eat meal.

We picked four of the most popular and widely available brands and tested their palak paneer offering. We also conducted a taste test. The brands we tested were Aashirvaad Ready Meals Palak Paneer, MTR Tasty Delights Palak Paneer, Gits Ready Meals Palak Paneer and Haldiram’s Minute Khana Dilli Style Palak Paneer.

What we found

  • Fat content varied widely across brands with some having more than twice the amount of fat as others. Scoring the worst on the fat scale was Haldiram’s product which was 18.3% fat translating to 27g per serving. ‘The RDA of fat for adults is 65g per day. If one serving of ready-to-eat palak paneer contains 27g of fat, it means one dish in the entire meal will be providing 41% of the total daily requirement.
  • In contrast, the MTR product had the least amount of fat at 8.2%. But this doesn’t mean that one brand is necessarily healthier than the other – while Haldiram’s was high in fat it was also the lowest in salt content. Similarly, MTR’s lower fat content was tainted by the amount of salt it contained – almost 600mg per 100g.

Restrict consumption of ready-to-eat meal packs that contain high amounts of fat. Even with regard to sodium, the product is unsuitable for cardiac-affected, diabetic and hypertensive patients.

Taste score

The overall taste score (col. 6 in table) was arrived at by taking an average of the scores for appearance, smell, texture, flavour and aftertaste.

When it came to taste, MTR, with the least fat and most salt, scored significantly lower than the other brands. Its average score was 37% with tasters commenting that it was too salty, had a disappointing and sour taste with rubbery paneer. It seems like the extra fat content lent to Haldiram’s taste. The brand score excellently in this area with an average score of 80%. So if you are looking for a tasty, once-in-a-way treat, Haldiram’s palak paneer may be the one to indulge in.

Gits was also a hit with our tasters, who loved its appearance and flavour, commenting that it was creamy, great tasting and with the right blend of spices. Aashirvaad scored a decent 66% overall in our taste test.

Best buy

Aashirvaad palak paneer hit middle ground, both on our fat and salt test as well as on taste. The brand has the second highest salt content at 510mg/100g – but it does not state the amount of salt it contains on its label. Aashirvaad scored well in our taste test for its appetizingly green appearance but some tasters found it salty with a spicy aftertaste.


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