Uncle Ben's Sauces: Your Questions Answered
We understand that you want to feed your family the best quality food possible and that there are sometimes concerns when it comes to using ready-made sauces. We want to reassure you that Uncle Ben’s sauces provide great tasting family meals that you can feel confident giving to your little ones.
We’ve put your queries and questions to Juliette Kellow, independent dietician and mum, who has tried to answer as many of the questions we received. If you want further information on Uncle Ben’s please visit www.unclebens.co.uk
1. Do ready-made sauces contain a lot of salt?
"It can vary between different sauces and brands, so get into the habit of checking labels. The Food Standards Agency advises that any product with 0.3g salt or less per 100g is low in salt, whereas anything with more than 1.5g salt per 100g is high in salt. If you come across labels that only give values for sodium, rather than salt, simply multiply the sodium value by 2.5 to convert it into salt."
2. What's the maximum amount of salt children should have each day?
"Children need less salt than adults because they are smaller. As a guideline, children of different ages should have no more than the following:
• 1-3 year olds – 2g a day
• 4-6 year olds – 3g a day
• 7-10 year olds – 5g a day
• 11 years and older – 6g a day"
3. What's Uncle Ben's doing to reduce the salt content of its products?
"Like many manufacturers, Uncle Ben's is working hard to reduce the salt content of its sauces. The average for Uncle Ben's sauces currently meets the Food Standards Agency salt targets for 2010."
4. Should I be worried about the fat content of ready-made sauces?
"The best way to tell how much fat there is in a ready-made sauce is to check the label. According to the Food Standards Agency, a product with 3g fat or less per 100g is low in fat, whereas a product with more than 20g fat per 100g is high in fat."
5. How about the sugar content of ready-made sauces?
"Again, look at the label. The Food Standards Agency says a product with 5g sugar or less per 100g is low in sugar, whereas a product with more than 15g sugar per 100g is high in sugar. However, bear in mind that the nutrition information for sugar includes both added sugars and naturally occurring sugars that are found in ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, peppers and pineapple. You'll need to look at the ingredients list to see if sugar has been added: the higher up sugar appears on this list, the more sugar the product contains."
6. Is there any goodness left in ready-made sauces after they have been manufactured?
"Uncle Ben's uses a variety of good-quality ingredients to make its sauces including tomatoes, a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices. The sauces are then preserved via a heating process called pasteurisation (the same process that's used to treat milk to make it safe). Pasteurisation helps to maintain the shelf life of the sauce without affecting its nutritional value or taste."
7. Don't ready-made sauces contain lots of artificial ingredients?
"Many of us worry that ready-made products are stuffed with artificial ingredients like colours, preservatives and flavours. However, Uncle Ben's sauces are free from all of these."
8. Are there any benefits to using ready-made sauces?
"Using a ready-made sauce, like Uncle Ben's, means you have instant access to the calorie, fat, saturates, sugar and salt content, thanks to the provision of nutrition information on the label – something that would take a long time to work out if you were to make your own sauce. Ready-made sauces can also encourage you to make new dishes, and are a good way to add extra vegetables to children's diets without them noticing."
9. Is it OK to use ready-made sauces for children?
"Healthy-eating guidelines apply to adults and children from the age of five. This means it's important to encourage a diet that's based on starchy, fibre-rich foods and includes five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, lean protein-rich foods and reduced-fat dairy products. It's also important to limit the amount of fatty, sugary and salty foods eaten. Ready-made sauces such as Uncle Ben's can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet for all the family. Just remember to check the label so you are clear about the nutritional value of what you're all eating."
10. Is it OK to give ready-made sauces to babies?
"Babies and very young children are still getting used to different tastes, textures and flavours, and because they are so small, have different nutritional needs compared with older children and adults. They also need a lot less salt. Even foods with a relatively low salt content can soon add up to make a significant contribution to a baby or young child's intake. It's therefore best to avoid giving them ready-made sauces. As children progress to eating family meals though, ready-made sauces can be included as part of a balanced, healthy diet."
Find more information, including some great recipe tips and ideas at www.unclebens.co.uk
To find out more about Uncle Ben’s sauces click here
Last updated: over 3 years ago