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22 Dec 2018

What's in your chicken stock?

The confusion over choosing which brand to help make your gravy this Christmas

Making gravy for your Christmas dinner and unsure which chicken stock will give you the most meat content for your money?

We've analysed the ingredients in popular chicken stocks and found out just how complicated companies make it for cooks to compare.

That's because different chicken stocks label their meat content in different ways.

In the stock cubes, granules, stock pots, liquid stock concentrate and ready-made stocks we looked at, the meat content was labelled as chicken, chicken extract, concentrated chicken extract, chicken powder, chicken meat powder, chicken fat and chicken stock.

We also discovered chicken stocks that don't contain any chicken at all.

Find out the best places to buy your Christmas turkey and trimmingsas rated by other shoppers.

How different chicken stocks compare

Swipe to see how popular stocks differ in their chicken content and those that content no chicken at all.


A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/whats-in-your-chicken-stock-aH61Q1t9INJR

What is chicken powder and chicken extract?

We contacted supermarkets and manufacturers to find out what chicken powder and chicken extract are.

The chicken powder in Asda and Tesco chicken stock cubes is 'dried chicken meat which is powdered'.

Morrisons' gravy granules chicken powder is 'driedchickenstockturned into powder'.

In Bisto Best chicken gravy granules, chicken powder is, 'ground down chicken meat which is mixed with water to make a thick broth then combined with other ingredients before being dried to make granules'.

Tesco, Morrisons and Oxo told us their chicken extract is a 'concentrated chicken stock'.

Chicken gravy with no chicken

We found two chicken gravy granules that contain no chicken or chicken fat and so are actually suitable for vegetarians.

Bisto chicken gravy granules and Asda chicken gravy granules instead contain a blend of flavourings.

Which stock has the most chicken?

What's not clear from the labels is whether chicken powder contains more meat than chicken extract. This means it's impossible to recommend one stock over another based on the meat content.

The only way you can be sure of the meat content is to make your own gravy from scratch.

How much salt is in your stock?

While you can't tell how much chicken is in your chicken stock, you can quite clearly see how much salt is in there. The salt content of the stocks does vary significantly so try to choose one with a lower salt content.

Some stocks and gravies contained ten times as much salt per 100ml as others. For example Sainsbury's Taste the Difference ready-to-use chilled chicken gravy contains 1g of salt per 100g compared with 0.1g of salt per 100ml of prepared stock using a Kallo Organic very low salt chicken stock cube.