Have you ever really tasted canned tomatoes?

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Red Gold product cutting supplies

Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient for me, and for most of you too.  I have a whole drawer in my pantry dedicated to various tomato products.

But somehow, I’d never given much thought to the differences in quality of those products.  Until now.

Red Gold sent me a product cutting kit to test their whole, peeled tomatoes against Hunt’s brand.  I took a bunch of photos so you can see the difference.

Red Gold can open

The first thing I did was open the Red Gold can.  The photo above is exactly as it was when I opened it.  Four nice looking, whole tomatoes were near the top.  The media (juice) looked red and I noticed a good tomato scent.

Red Gold tomatoes in pan

I poured the Red Gold tomatoes into the provided pan.  All the tomatoes were whole and looked very good.  There was one tomato that was much smaller than the others, but overall they were uniform in size.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's can open

Next I opened the Hunt’s can.  This is exactly what it looked like when I opened it.  I couldn’t see any whole tomatoes at the top of the can.  The media (juice) looked thick and red though.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's in pan

I poured the Hunt’s can into the pan.  There were a few whole tomatoes, but many were squished.

Red Gold product cutting side by side

Above is a side-by-side photo so you can see the differences.

Appearance ratings:

On the Red Gold score sheet, there are five different ratings for appearance.  Each is rated on a scale of five, with 1 being poor and 5 being extraordinary.

Red Color of Tomatoes

The brighter the hue of red, the higher the score.  I gave both Red Gold and Hunt’s a score of 4 on this.

Uniformity of the Size of Tomatoes

The less variation in size, the higher the score.  I gave Red Gold 5 on this.  Hunt’s earned 3.  It was hard to tell if the Hunt’s tomatoes were uniform in size, because many of them were squished or in pieces.

Tomato Integrity

The more firm the tomatoes look, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned 5.  Hunt’s earned 2.

Amount of Peel and Seeds Present in Sample

The less peel and seeds, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5, because I saw no peel or seeds.  Hunt’s earned 1. On of the Hunt’s tomatoes still had most of the peel on it. Another had a significant amount of peel.  I also saw many seeds in the Hunt’s.


The red and thick juice is the media. The better the color and consistency, the higher the score.  This is the only indicator that Hunt’s may have edged out Red Gold.  Hunt’s media was very thick and red, almost like tomato sauce.  I gave it a rating of 4.  Red Gold’s media looked good, but it is a bit thinner and lighter than Hunt’s.  I gave it a score of 3.

Flavor ratings:

The final two ratings on the score sheet are for flavor.  For this rating, a tomato from each can is cut in half.  Notice the appearance, then taste for flavor.

Red Gold cut in half

The flavor of Red Gold tomatoes is very good.  It’s bright and not far off from a fresh picked tomato.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's cut in half

Hunt’s tomatoes did not taste good.  I was pretty surprised by how badly they tasted.  There was a distinct metallic taste.  They tasted like an old can.  Not good.

Intensity of Tomato Flavor

The more tomato flavor, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned a score of 5.  Hunt’s earned a score of 2.


Tomatoes should taste garden fresh without any off notes.  Red Gold earned 5 here.  I could easily eat a plate of these by themselves.  I gave Hunt’s a score of 1.  They just really weren’t good.

Score totals:

Red Gold – 32

Hunt’s 17

I was very surprised at the difference between the brands.

Red Gold is Non GMO certified and uses a Non-BPA Liner for their cans.  Both of these add to the quality of the tomatoes.

Have you ever tried Red Gold tomatoes?  The next time you open a can, take a bite before adding them to your recipe.  I’d love to know what you think.

Disclosure:  Red Gold sent me the product cutting kit.  I have been compensated by Red Gold for this post, however all opinions are my own.

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  1. Mary Anne says:

    Wow! What a difference. I will be sure to look at and taste canned tomatoes when I next use them.

  2. Sharon Shepherd says:

    I understand that you were compensated and that’s not a problem for me. This test you did would’ve been better imo if you had done at least the tasting part, with a helper of course, as a blind taste test. I’ve always used hunts tomatoes. I honestly never heard of red gold tomatoes. Thanks for doing the test! I think on my next grocery trip I’ll grab a couple cans of the red gold. They really do look good. Hmph of course I just made chili with the hunts ones yesterday! Haha

  3. I don’t know about Red Gold but some companies put a chemical in the canned tomatoes that keeps them firmer and they don’t break down in a sauce like you want them to…..This chemical is put in diced tomatoes more frequently I have read so that they stay in pieces even after cooked. I like my grocery store’s Organic brand and also Cento brand from Italy equally. I don’t know if they sell Red Gold in Southern California as I have never seen them but have heard about them.

  4. Hope they sell Red Gold at Harris Teeter and Food Lion. That’s all we have here. Will buy Red Gold.

  5. Debi Mayer says:

    Many years ago, I gave my mother-in-law in Michigan, cans of Red Gold Tomatoes for her to try. She liked them and finally found them at her local grocery. I always told her Indiana Tomatoes are the very best.
    I now am in Florida for the winter. Imagine my surprise while in an Italian market, they carried Italian brand canned tomatoes and right next to those were Red Gold! Love Red Gold Tomatoes and salsa.

  6. Cindi Reyes says:

    I bought Hunts Whole Peeled Tomatoes once. I had a real shock when I opened the can-mangeled tomatoes with black spots and tomato skins. Disgusting. I complained to the company and they sent me several coupons for their product. I tossed the coupons and only buy RED GOLD. I don’t have to clean and peel them to use them. And the taste?…oh my goodness they are good!

  7. Love Red Gold Tomatoes, sauce and paste! I wish I could find their catsup.

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