Tinned salmon is an essential healthy store cupboard and can be used for tons of recipes, from sandwiches to pasta dishes to delicious, crispy fish cakes. Kitchen goddess Nigella herself confesses that she prefers fishcakes made from tinned salmon rather than using salmon fillet! But with so many choices, you need to make a few decisions to narrow down the options - this is where our buying guide comes in!
We'll guide you through the differences between red and pink salmon, with and without bones and skin, why we should opt for wild salmon over farmed salmon and all the other things you should be looking out for while you shop. Our buying guide also includes a top 10 list of the best tinned salmon options available to buy from popular UK retailers such as Amazon, Tesco and Ocado.
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Table of Contents
The first thing you need to consider is the colour. Red salmon (also known as 'sockeye' salmon) has a bolder colour and deeper flavour, which is retained during the hot canning process. It's also known as being a slightly healthier option due to containing a higher number of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
On the other hand, Pink salmon has a lighter, pinky tinge and a milder flavour, meaning it's usually preferred by those who don't like anything 'too fishy'. Pink salmon is much more plentiful than red, so it's often quite a lot cheaper, however, it loses its nice pink colour when canned and becomes a much less visually-appealing grey.
When shopping for tinned salmon, take into consideration the fishing method. Farmed salmon often use nets submerged in existing bodies of water where waste and leached chemicals risk being released into the natural environment. These pens are a huge animal welfare concern as they can become overcrowded, increasing the likelihood of disease spreading to local wild fish populations.
Wild fishing, however, has much less environmental impact than farmed. Compared to tuna, wild salmon is much easier to track, so the numbers can be monitored closely, meaning there is less chance of overfishing. Wild fishing methods are also less likely to incur bycatch (the netting of unintended wildlife such as seals and dolphins).
Most tinned salmon is sold in metal cans, in which the raw fish is sealed and heated. By cooking the salmon and sterilising the contents, it allows for long-term ambient storage. The metal tins, made from steel or iron, can be endlessly recycled, making tinned salmon packaging a sustainable choice.
However, convenience can be an issue with metal tin cans - they are notoriously tricky to open, and the contents must be decanted into a suitable storage container once opened. Some now come with 'easy open' ring pulls, but it's often unclear which opening method they possess from the product's online description.
The other, much less common option is plastic pots. John West's 'Fridge Pot' is a plastic, resealable tub, which can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. This is a much more convenient choice, but due to the hard plastic, it is much less environmentally friendly.
Tinned salmon can be purchased with or without the bones and skin. If you want to recreate the nostalgia of Sunday tea time with your grandparents, choose tinned salmon with skin and bones. Those following a low-waste lifestyle will also appreciate using as much of the fish as possible.
Some people are put off by the thought of eating the skin and bones, however, the bones are softened during the hot canning process, so they are easily digestible and enhance the calcium content of the product, upping its nutritional value. The skin can also be mixed in, so it virtually disappears, and it contains more Omega 3 than the flesh alone.
Obviously, the slightly crunchy texture is a bit of an acquired taste, so if you're new to tinned salmon, it might be best to opt for a product without the skin and bones until you get used to it.
When shopping for any food product, it's important to consider the nutritional value. Although tinned salmon is a processed food, it usually contains no artificial additives or preservatives besides salt.
The NHS guidelines state that adults should eat no more than 6 grams of salt per day. Most small tins of salmon contain between 1 - 3 grams of salt, so eating a whole tin could use up half your daily salt allowance.
It's also worth considering the fat content. Red salmon is slightly higher in fat than pink salmon, but you can reduce the fat content a bit by opting for a skinless option. That said, skin-on, red salmon is much more flavoursome and contains additional Omega 3, so it all depends on your preferences.
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Essential Skinless & Boneless Wild Red Salmon
Lower-Salted Wild Red Salmon With All the Bones and Skins Removed
Fridge Pot Skinless & Boneless Pink Salmon
A Handy High-Protein Pot Which Can Be Kept in the Fridge for Two Days After Opening
Wild Pacific Pink Salmon
A Large Tin of Wild Pink Salmon for a Bargain Price
Wild Red Salmon Skinless & Boneless
Skinless and Boneless Wild Pacific Red Salmon With High Levels of Omega 3
The Nice Fisherman
Alaskan Wild MSC Red Salmon
Red Salmon Caught Responsibly by The Nice Fisherman
Skinless & Boneless Wild Pacific Red Salmon
Wild Pacific Red Salmon Containing an Impressive 1 G of Omega 3 From a Reliable Brand
Skinless & Boneless Wild Pacific Pink Salmon
Tinned Salmon That’s Low in Saturated Fat and High in Vitamin D
Wild Pacific Red Salmon
Traceable Red Salmon With a Low-Waste Approach From a Reputable Brand
Atlantic Salmon Steak in Lemon and Pepper
Tinned Salmon Steaks Flavoured With Lemon and Black Pepper
Fish 4 Ever
Wild Pacific Red Salmon
Sustainably Fished Red Salmon With the Skins and Bones Included
Waitrose is renowned for putting its name to quality items only, and this wild red salmon does not disappoint. The salmon is firm and tasty, with the bones and skin removed - so it is ideal for delicate afternoon tea sandwiches or for feeding to the very young or old.
The salmon is responsibly sourced and responsibly fished from the Pacific Ocean, and with only 1 % added salt, this is the least salty tinned salmon we've come across. So, for quality and health reasons, it claims our number one spot!
This handy resealable pot is from well-renowned tinned salmon brand John West. It can be kept in the cupboard until needed, and then used to store the salmon in the fridge for up to two days once opened.
The skin and bones are removed, making this a convenient snack to eat when out and about, especially for those following a healthy diet. The lack of skin means this salmon is very low in fat whilst also being high in protein at 24 g per 100 g. A great healthy option!
Don't be put off by negative reviews on the Tesco website, as most of those are from people wanting skinless and boneless salmon, who simply bought the wrong product. For those seeking affordable, no-frills pink salmon, we think you can't do better than this.
Princes are well known for their tinned salmon, and here we've got their skinless and boneless wild Pacific red salmon. It's ideal for fuss-free sandwiches as you can use it just as you would tinned tuna fish on brown bread with optional mayonnaise!
Being red salmon, the fat content is a little higher than in tinned pink salmon, but so is the impressive level of Omega 3. Princes proudly use no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours and the vibrant red of the salmon flesh is all-natural.
This ready-to-eat wild red Pacific salmon is canned in its own juice by fishermen who respect marine life. The fish are caught using gill nets and surrounding nets and are packed and processed in the USA.
Nice Fisherman salmon is sourced only from sustainable MSC certified fisheries in accordance with rigorous criteria where the company ensures complete traceability throughout the supply chain. Their low-waste approach means that bones and skin are included, which won't suit all - but we think these being present add extra flavour and texture.
John West's wild Pacific red salmon is pricier than most other brands, but many swear by their reliability. People are often happy to pay more, especially as this tin is boneless and skinless, making it completely fuss-free.
This red salmon contains an impressive 1 g of Omega 3 per 100 grams, making it an excellent choice for those following a healthy diet. Increasing your omega 3 has been proven to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and nourish skin and hair.
This skinless and boneless Pacific wild pink salmon from John West is lower in fat and saturated fat than its red salmon counterpart. It's also worth noting that 100 grams of this salmon, (just over half a tin) provides 150 % of your suggested daily amount of Vitamin D.
Unfortunately, compared to the red salmon by the same brand, this version has a lower level of Omega 3. Plus, it is a little overpriced, as pink salmon is usually the more affordable alternative, whereas this is just as expensive as the red.
Princes wild red salmon will appeal to those looking for a traditional salmon sandwich filling or those who appreciate the low-waste approach of embracing the skin and (soft and chewable) bones.
The Omega 3 content is excellent at 1 gram per 100 grams, thanks to the inclusion of the bones and skin, however, we know that many prefer to eat salmon without these 'extras', hence why it is further down our ranking.
Rather than the usual flaked salmon, this product features salmon steaks flavoured with brine, lemon juice and pepper. Princes pride itself on helping families afford to eat well, and this is certainly a cheaper option than buying fresh salmon steaks.
There is also a brine version for those who prefer a more naturally-flavoured fish. The truth is, you'd probably use salmon steaks in the same way as standard flaked salmon, so the price seems a little too high when you're not getting much more.
One of the best things about Fish 4 Ever is their commitment to having ‘catch to can’ traceability. The company use small boats, support local fishermen and their communities, and says no to fishing methods that cause damage to the seafloor.
Fish 4 Ever aims to prove that fish can be better for you, better for fishermen, and better for the environment. However, this ethical approach comes at a financial cost to the consumer. That said, if you can afford to pay double the regular price of tinned salmon, you won't regret it.
Written and researched by Lucy Smith
No. 1：Waitrose｜Essential Skinless & Boneless Wild Red Salmon｜170 g
No. 2：John West ｜Fridge Pot Skinless & Boneless Pink Salmon｜128 g
No. 3：Tesco｜Wild Pacific Pink Salmon｜418 g
No. 4：Princes ｜Wild Red Salmon Skinless & Boneless ｜105 g
No. 5：The Nice Fisherman ｜Alaskan Wild MSC Red Salmon｜213 g
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