Which tinned fish should you choose? A tinned fish review.


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Any discussion of tinned fish will not only feature debate about the best choices nutritionally but also the way the fish is caught, and the sustainability practices employed by the major producers around the world. Even though there are many, many varieties of tinned fish on supermarket shelves, when you really break things down, there are many similarities across the brands. The good thing about this is that varieties with clear nutritional benefits really stand out, as do the brands that employee sustainable fishing practices.

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Salmon

Not as popular as tinned tuna but oh so very good for us, tinned salmon is a rich source of omega 3 fats and protein and although tinned salmon does tend to contain more salt than tuna, is still a fantastic option nutritionally. As is the case with flavoured tuna, check labels and choose varieties that contain higher % of salmon and if you can afford it, red salmon is nutritionally superior. Particular mention should be given to Tassal salmon, the only 100% Australian tinned fish option we have ready access too.

Tassal Roasted Salmon

Per 100g - 658kJ (157cal), 23g protein, 6.9g fat, 1g carbs, <1g sugars, 625mg sodium

60% salmon and plenty of added salt, this is one of the few Australian brands of tinned fish out there

Fish From: Australia

Paramount Red Salmon

Per 100g - 704kJ (168cal), 22.8g protein, 8.6g fat, <1g carbs, <1g sugars, 468mg sodium

99% salmon with a little salt, nutritionally red salmon has slightly more protein and omega 3 fat than pink

Fish From: Product of Alaska

Ally Pink Salmon

Per 100g - 617kJ (147cal), 22.9g protein, 5.7g fat, <1g carbs, <1g sugars, 564mg sodium

75% salmon means you get one of the highest fish amounts in this product, but it does come from China and we do not know how it is caught.

Fish From: Made in China

Safcol Premium Salmon Pieces

Per 100g - 609kJ (145cal), 15g protein, 8.5g fat, 2.3g carbs, 1.3g sugars, 450mg sodium

Just 60% salmon along with oil and vegetables you would be better to chopped your own vegetables into a plain salmon with a higher fish content.

Fish From: Made in Thailand

Ocean Rise Flavoured Salmon

Per 100g - 728kJ (174cal), 14.5g protein, 11.3g fat, 3.4g carbs, 3.4g sugars, 352mg sodium

Even though it has the Heart Foundation Tick, added sugar and vegetable oil and just 59% salmon means there are better options out there.

Fish From: Made in Thailand from a Wild Fishery, FAO Catchment Area #67

John West Salmon Tempters in Springwater

Per 100g - 394kJ (94cal), 18.4g protein, 2.2g fat, <1g carbs, <1g sugars, 335mg sodium

The plain salmon with just salt added will give you 60% fish compared to <50% for flavoured varieties.

Fish From: Made in Thailand

John West Salmon Tempters

Per 100g - 594kJ (141cal), 13.3g protein, 7.6g fat, 5.1g carbs, 4.7g sugars, 340mg sodium

With just 46% salmon and with added oil and sugar, you would be better to add your own veges and purchase tins with more salmon

Fish From: Made in Thailand 

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Tuna

Despite there being many, many varieties of tuna on supermarket shelves, when you really break things down, they are really all very similar no matter which brand you choose, hence I do not have any clear favourites. We either have tuna in spring water, which is very low in fat and calories; tuna in oil which contains 5-10g fat per serve or flavoured tuna which can contain relatively small amounts of tuna but plenty of added oil and sugars. As a general rule of thumb, low fat tuna does not offer a whole lot nutritionally other than lean protein, so for a better nutrient boost, look for light options in oil, which still offer some essential fats and flavour. Be especially careful of flavoured tuna options as they can be as low as 40% in total fish content.

Perhaps most importantly, pay close attention to how your choice of tuna is farmed. Greenpeace supports line and pole caught tuna which are becoming more readily available as consumers demand environmentally sustainable tuna options, which are listed here first. It is also important to note than you can eat too much tuna, so aim for tuna to be consumed at most 2-3 times a week to minimize the risk of too much mercury accumulating in the body.

Good Fish Tuna in Olive Oil

Per 100g - 900kJ (214cal), 25.5g protein, 12.6g fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugars, 166mg sodium

Significantly more expensive than regular tuna due to its sustainable fishing practices.

Fish From: Made in Spain from a sustainably managed fishery #34 with only 1 line and 1 hook per fish

Safcol Tuna Pieces

Per 100g - 616kJ (147cal), 24.4g protein, 5.4g fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugars, 310mg sodium

With 80% fish, good levels of omega 3 fat and little sodium, this is a nutritionally string product with significantly more fish than most tinned and canned tuna options.

Fish From: Made in Thailand and Pole and Line caught in the Western Pacific Ocean

Safcol Pole and Line Caught Tuna in Springwater

Per 100g - 328kJ (78cal), 17.7g protein, 0.7g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 129mg sodium

70% tuna and very low in calories and sodium for tinned fish. Omega 3 content relatively low.

Fish From: Made in Thailand via Line and Pole in the Western Pacific Ocean

Select Tuna Chunks in Springwater

Per 100g - 515kJ (123cal), 27.9g protein, 1.3g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 229mg sodium

74% tuna and low in salt for a tinned fish. You missed out on essential fats when you choose low fat tuna

Fish From: Made in Thailand and pole and line caught in Western Pacific or South West Atlantic Ocean

Select Tuna Chunks in Olive Oil

Per 100g - 483kJ (116cal), 27.6g protein, 6.1g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 579mg sodium

74% tuna and 19% olive oil – high in sodium for tinned fish and low in omega 3 fats.

Fish From: Made in Thailand and pole and line caught in Western Pacific or South West Atlantic Ocean

Coles Tuna Chunks in Springwater

Per 100g - 423kJ (101cal), 22.7g protein, <1g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 295mg sodium

74% tuna, light in calories, relatively low in good fats and plain taste.

Fish From: Made in Thailand and wild caught in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Sirena Lite Flavoured Tuna

Per 100g - 329kJ (78cal), 23.3g protein, 3.3g fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugars, 480mg sodium

With 74% tuna although relatively high sodium levels, this is a strong product nutritionally.

Fish From: Made in Indonesia. Caught using pole and line

Greenseas Tuna Chunks in Springwater

Per 100g - 460kJ (110cal), 24.6g protein, 1.1g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 240mg sodium

As plain as it comes, tuna with a little salt – it may be low in fat but you are also missing out on omega 3 fats when you buy low fat tuna.

Fish From: Made in Thailand and wild caught in the Western Central Pacific Ocean

Greenseas Tuna in Oil

Per 100g - 630kJ (150cal), 24g protein, 5.9g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 470mg sodium

68% tuna and 20% added sunflower and olive oils.

Fish From: Made in Thailand and wild caught in the Western Central Pacific Ocean

Ocean Rise Yellowfin Chunk Tuna

Per 100g - 709kJ (170cal), 25.7g protein, 7.3g fat,  0g carbs, 0g sugars, 479mg sodium

74% tuna with added vegetable and olive oils this tuna contains almost 1g of omega 3 fats. In general it is recommended that we avoid Yellowfin tuna as it is an overfished species.

Fish From: Made in Thailand from a Wild Fishery, FAO Catchment Area #71.

Sirena Flavoured Tuna

Per 100g - 525kJ (125cal), 20.8g protein, 3.0g fat, 3.6g carbs, 3.6g sugars, 405mg sodium

A favourite for flavour with 63% tuna and all natural ingredients including added vegetable oil may taste good but is not nutritionally any better although it claims to be produced via an increased % of sustainable fishing practices.

Fish From: Made in Thailand

John West Tuna Tempters

Per 100g - 491kJ (117cal), 15.5g protein, 3.9g fat, 4.3g carbs, 3.2g sugars, 400mg sodium

With just 42% fish you are much better to buy tuna slices and add chopped veges and a little olive oil to the mix.

Fish From: Made in Thailand

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Sardines

Nutritionally if you like the taste, sardines are the way to go when it comes to tinned fish. With 20g pf protein and a massive 2-3g of omega 3 fat per serve, sardines leave tinned tuna and salmon for dead. Choose options in spring water or tomato sauce to avoid 20+ grams of extra fat coming from added oil.

Brunswick

Per 100g - 669kJ (159cal), 20.2g protein, 8.8g fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugars, 189mg sodium

89% fish and very low levels of sodium, these sardines are the pick of the bunch.

Fish From: Canadian Sardines

King Oscar Sardines

Per 100g- 1100kJ (262cal), 18.4g protein, 21g fat, <1g carbs, <1g sugars, 280mg sodium

With 76% fish, this brand has one of the highest fish contents of all tinned fish, along with 23% olive oil which can be drained to reduce the added fat content.

Fish From: Made in Poland

John West Sardines in Springwater

Per 100g - 946kJ (225cal), 18.3g protein, 16.7g fat, <1g carbs, <1g sugars, 240mg sodium

With 68% fish, sardines are not only a rich source of calcium (300mg) but they contain significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fat than both salmon and tuna

Fish From: Made in Scotland

Portview Sardines

Per 100g - 373kJ (89cal), 15.9g protein, 1.7g fat, 1.1g carbs, 1.1g sugars, 413mg sodium

With 65% fish and 35% tomato sauce, sardines in tomato sauce or spring water are low in fat whilst still offering a hearty dose of omega 3 fats.

Fish From: Made in Poland

Please note:

*Fish varieties were sourced at Woolworths, Coles and ALDI supermarkets.

** Fish was randomly selected across a range of types and flavours. 

***The author of this article is not affiliated with any of these products, nor was she paid by any of these companies for product review

Comments

comments

10 Comments

  • Frank Iuston says:

    This is a wonderful read Susie! LOVE LOVE LOVE my tuna but was amazed to read you *can* actually have too much of it (bit forgetful of the mercury content). Still got some Safcol in the fridge from last week’s grocery shop so all I can really say after reading this is “Bon appetit!”. Thanks heaps for all the info!

  • Joanne louder says:

    I am concerned about the pink pills they feed our Tasmanian salmon , so they have a red colour. Apparently we farm salmon and this is how they have the red colour otherwise they would be grey/white. These pink pills are bad for human health. Obesigens! Salmon has become so popular we have run out of natural salmon food to feed them. I buy only wild caught Canadian red salmon

  • Pete Engeler says:

    Thank you I am able to make an educated choice now..

  • Vindy says:

    Brunswick sardines tastes good too. I love the one with pepper.

    Great info. Thanks

  • Elizabeth Hamilton says:

    Did you test mercury & arsenic levels in these cans. My doctor advocates NO Tuna at all and even some brands of salmon are worse than others. Would be interesting to test Mercury levels if you haven’t yet done so.

  • John says:

    Pole fishing sounds very nice but is killing local fishing grounds and local fishers. There is no protection of tuna pole fishers, labor is dangerousand bait kills local business. Be sure to steer clear of pole fished tuna

  • Christina says:

    Really appreciate this article. It definitely will help with my choice of tinned fish. I would be interested to know Mercury content also! Many thanks

  • Lynne says:

    Thanks Susie, I only recently realised my usual John West tuna is made in Thailand and since I work in the global seafood industry I am astute enough to know to eat only Australian seafood products. Finding the summary on your web site of where canned tuna and salmon are made and sourced has saved me hours of research. Plus Tassal have a shop near where we live and sell in bulk at a discount. We have been doing the 5 x 2 diet for a while so spring water salmon on spinach salad leaves has been a staple, hence we are very cautious about our food source. Many thanks again.

  • Janine says:

    This is a great resource. Thank’s so much for doing all the hard work. One thing I was looking for was the type of oil that the fish was packed in. I was horrified when I realized my tinned fish that I have been buying for ages was packed in sunflower oil (high in omega 6) and not  beneficial olive oil. My whole point of eating fish was to increase my omega 3 intake. Guess I will have to read the ingredients more carefully next time. 

  • robert shaw says:

    Hi Susie, many thanks for the review – i did a personal review on the impression one gets when opening tins of canned fish. The scent was what I was after. To me most of them resemble cat-food EXCEPT paramount pink salmon, I can smell the ocean when I open those tins, paramount salmon rocks! It’s just a pity we can’t get it from coles anymore

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