Your pesto could contain bamboo

Supermarkets are cutting costs and packing pesto with weird extra ingredients

According to a super-important very-serious investigation, our fave Italian delicacy / student staple has a bit more to it than the basil, parmesan, pine nut combo we bargained for...

What it means: Which? (a magazine that does consumer research) looked into pesto sold by Asda, Co-op, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. It found that supermarket own labels used cashew nuts instead of pine nuts, sunflower oil instead of olive oil and cheaper grana padano cheese instead of parmesan to cut costs. Not grana padano!

Most also bulked the sauce up with thickeners (including bamboo fibre), and Tesco listed water as an ingredient.

As fun as it is to laugh at people getting their knickers in a twist about a slightly cheaper version of cheese, there is an economics point to this. So many processes and considerations go into mass-producing foods for supermarkets: finding ways to make it last on the shelf as long as possible, keeping production costs down without losing customers, etc.

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