Super Salmon Comparison Test

Chicken of the Sea

Canned wild caught salmon is a premium emergency or everyday food. Price, quality, and taste vary, however, and if you’re going to stock large quantities, a bit of research is in order. To help with that, we’ve done a comparison test for your convenience.

Note: The post photo shows only three brands; Double “Q” joined the test after the group shot.

Overview

We tested four brands: Double “Q”, Chicken of the Sea, Prelate, and Great Value. All brands were purchased at Wal-Mart, but prices and availability will vary with your location. The cheapest by far was Great Value, but half the tasters judged it best nonetheless. Prices ranged from $1.92 to $3.12 per can, a substantial difference considering that they were all rather similar in quality. But as prices vary, be sure to check in your location.

Comparison Factors

The contestants were judged for color, tenderness/moistness, fishiness, boniness, texture, and price.  All brands contained 14.75 oz, and assessed their Nutrition Facts based on a 63 gram serving size, which is about 1/4 cup. Test conditions were single-blind; the server knew the brand, but the people tasting it did not. (In a double-blind test the server does not know the brand either).

For the photos, we poured the entire contents of the can into a plate — we did not drain off the liquid. Lighting was overhead incandescent, a camera flash, and daylight spill from a window behind the camera. The mixed color temperature of the lighting (bluish for daylight, yellowish for the incandescent bulbs) affects the color of the salmon in the photos, as do the properties of your video monitor.

Price per can (Highest to Lowest):

  1. Chicken of the Sea – $3.12
  2. Double “Q” – $2.26
  3. Prelate – $2.12
  4. Great Value – $1.92

Double “Q”

Double "Q"

Half the judges chose the Great Value brand; the other half thought Double “Q” was best. It was slightly drier and fishier than Great Value, but had the fewest bones and skin. Judges also reported that it had a “fresher, more natural” taste than the other brands, which seems to conflict with the “slightly fishier” assessment. This was puzzling at first, but it might be that the processing was different. Indeed, Double “Q” has the least salt of all the brands we tested; 250 mg sodium per serving, compared to 270 mg for the others. I’m not sure a 20 mg per quarter cup difference is actually detectable on the palate, but it might indicate that they use a superior processing technique that yields the vague “fresher, more natural” factor that half our judges preferred.

Double "Q" was the favorite of about half the judges

Double "Q" took second place in moistness/tenderness, and was slightly fishier than the Great Value brand

Chicken of the Sea

Chicken of the Sea

Chicken of the Sea was distinctly drier than the others, and was more pale. This is not necessarily bad if you’re going to make Salmon salad or patties with it. The differences in color are not as noticeable on your video monitor, but the paleness was distinct in person.

Chicken of the Sea had the palest color and was judged the driest of the four

Closeup of the Chicken of the Sea pink salmon

Great Value

Great Value

Great value was the favorite of half the judges (the others preferred Double “Q”). It had a nice pink color, a mild flavor, and a flaky, tender, moist consistency. It was slightly bonier than the Double “Q”, and while it seems to have more skin than the Double “Q” this didn’t seem to make it taste fishy. It was by far the least costly of the four brands, and represents the best value we found.

Great Value was judged the best by the other half of the judges who didn't choose Double "Q"

Great Value had the pinkest color and a mild flavor. It was also judged the most tender and moist, but half the judges preferred the Double "Q" because it had fewer and more tender bones.

Prelate

Prelate

Prelate brand was the moistest and most tender, but its distinct fishiness (probably due to the greater amount of dark meat) scored it below the Great Value and Double “Q.” You have to put this in perspective, though; people rarely eat the canned salmon as we did for the taste tests. It’s usually used in a recipe as a salmon salad or salmon patties, or possibly in a soup. Prepared this way, none of these brands would be judged “bad.”

Prelate was very moist and tender, but had more dark meat, giving it more fishiness than the other brands

Prelate had a nice pink color and was very tender

Recommendation

Great Value tied with Double “Q” in taste, texture, etc., but the lower cost edged it into first place. We were attempting to select the best of four very good contestants, and you wouldn’t go wrong with any of them. If cost is any consideration, Great Value would be your choice. It is available in 24-can cases at Wal-Mart. The cardboard case it comes in is very flimsy and won’t support the weight of all 24 cans — you have to load the cans individually into the cart.

I usually find two or three cases at a time on the shelf. Be sure to leave a case for other customers, but get a case or two with every visit until you’re fully stocked.

Check back soon for recipes.

~SnoMan

5 thoughts on “Super Salmon Comparison Test”

  1. I love Salmon salads so I get canned Salmon from Costco. . There are 6 cans per roll of Bear Wolf Pink Salmon MADE in the USA!!! AWESOME taste no fish smell and dry flaky chunks…NO BONES no skin….they might be a little expensive BUT they are TOP QUALITY. It seems the 6 cans may run about $12 to $13 dollars a sleeve/roll. Those other can salmons….well I’m sorry I might not have as MUCH stockpiled but I am for sure going to enjoy them when I sit down to eat . One way to eat these great morsels is lettuce wraps or in pita pockets. I get my home grown lettuce and put some salmon on and I add artichoke Hearts….(found in tall GLASS bottles at Costco) ….. then I make a dipping sauce. I say blessing to OUR LORD and then NO SOUND is heard…..just yummmm!
    Just a thought…..also another thing that KEEPS for forever is Date Honey (home made of course and stored in glass jars) with Roasted Sesame Tahiti and roasted garlic…..served on your CAMP BREAD or a home made pits pocket…..
    Talk about well rounded and GOOD food. Things that WILL NOT CAUSE the …OOPS and to the potty runs oops yea know!!
    I love all of your GR8 things. I am looking forward to the COMING of OUR Lord Jesus back!!!

    OH….salmon good to 2016 bought in late 2011 Chokes in oil good to 2014 bought in 2011…I figure even longer…..for both
    Maranatha……

  2. I have been eating Great Value canned pink salmon for lunch this week – very tasty with a little mayo and Sriracha sauce added :)

    BTW – these cans had a ‘best by’ date of July 2010 (expired 4 years ago), but still looks and tastes great…in case you guys wondered how it would hold up. Back in 2006 I bought a bunch of canned tuna and salmon for my ‘survival’ stash, then lost a few cases in a move and only recently found them. The expiration dates were anywhere from 2008 to 2010, but all of it has tasted fine and there were no problems with any of it.

    1. So, you’re still alive, yes?

      Been consuming Great Value Pink canned salmon for several years now myself. For the price, it’s far and away the best deal out there in overall quality, IMO.

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