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Foods from celebrity chefs tested by Consumer Reports

September 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
From Giada De Laurentiis to Iron Chef's Mario Batali, more and more celebrity chefs are making the leap from TV shows to the supermarket.

"The catch with celebrity foods is that they can come with a high price tag. They can be two or three times as much as a garden-variety brand," said Kim Kleman of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports wanted to know whether celebrity brands are worth their A-list prices, so it taste-tested dozens of tomato sauces, salad dressings and soups from famous chefs like Wolfgang Puck, restaurants like Rao's and Hollywood stars like the late Paul Newman.

"Many do include fresher ingredients, but not all," Kleman said.

For example, both Emeril's and Newman's Own pasta sauces list tomato purée (water and tomato paste) as their first ingredient, but so does Ragu, which is less expensive.

"About half of the celebrity products we tested were no better than cheaper mainstream brands, although a few rated excellent," Kleman said.

Among soups, Wolfgang Puck's Tomato Basil Bisque is the standout, but it's pricey at $3.50.

For pasta sauces, both Mario Batali's Marinara and Giada De Laurentiis' Tomato Basil rated excellent. While his costs a whopping $8, hers is a "best buy" for $3 at Target.

But no celebrity salad dressings rated excellent. You could probably make a better and less expensive one yourself at home.

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