Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cans of Chicken

I decided to try a very small experiment. The local grocery store sells both Swanson and Hormel white meat chicken in 12.5 oz. net weight cans. Ok, so I bought one of both (actually more but this is the resultant average) to see which has more chicken. All weights in ounces.

                                                         Hormel                    Swanson

Gross weight of can -                   15 oz                        15 3/8 oz
Weight w/o Water -                    10 7/8 oz                 10 3/8 oz
Weight of Water -                         4 1/8 oz                    5 oz
Empty Can -                                   2 5/8 oz                     2 3/8 oz
Weight of Chicken -                      8 1/4 oz                    8 oz

This means of the 12 1/2 oz of net weight a little over one third is water. I did this experiment with Swanson's smaller old and new cans and discovered they added more water for the larger can with less chicken. Sneaky. Now it's clear if you're using a recipe with weight of ingredients, don't trust the can. And I don't know but it sure starts to sound like very expensive water in those cans.


  1. I don't know but it seems to me like "net weight" should mean the weight of the actual product the can is supposed to contain, not the product plus as much water as they can squeeze in there.

  2. One would think so, but water is a cheap additive to lower costs. This is especially true of generic or store brands. I also tried some smaller cans of local and organic canned chicken which had more chicken compared to national brands, but had a stronger taste. Most national brands, like these two, don't have much chicken flavor, just enough to remind you it's chicken.

    There was a story awhile back on how brands are keeping costs down, just less food or product in the package for the relatively same size. It appears to be the same but isn't. And since "net weight" means the weight of everything in the package, eg. water, filler, etc., it's all a facade to get you to buy more often.