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Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce: A Full Serving of Veggies in ½ a Can!?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

“There’s a full serving of vegetables in every Manwich” says a cute girl dressed up as a Manwich in a recent commercial for Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce (see below).

What? Vegetables in a Manwich? Isn’t that junk just sodium-laden tomato paste that you add to ground beef and spread over a hamburger bun to make the most disgusting homemade meal possible?

While the girl speaks this nonsense, the fine print at the bottom of the screen claims: “Each ¼ cup serving of Manwich contains a ½ cup of vegetables.”

Now, I know it has been a while since I did fractions in grade-school, but how does a half cup of veggies fit into a quarter cup of Manwich?

This type of marketing just marks the beginning of a developing trend where manufacturers of terribly unhealthy products, “fortify” or “infuse” their products with some vitamin, some bacterial culture (i.e. BL diarrheais – get it? Makes me laugh every time), or some other BS in an effort to dupe consumers into thinking they are consuming a health food.

Anyways, back to the Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce.

So while the math may make little sense, the claim is: eat Manwich and you get a serving of veggies – two birds; one stone type of deal. Thus there is no need to consume actual fruit and veggies, because Hunt’s takes care of all that for you.

But what exactly is in a can of Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce?

The label on the can is interesting as it lists the nutritional information per 1/7th of the can – just another reminder why it is important to read labels carefully. Once we get our calculator out we get the following per can of Manwich:

280 kcals composed almost exclusively of carbohydrates (large majority is sugar). I must admit though, the fact it has no fat and basically no protein came as a bit of a surprise. In fact there’s not a whole lot of anything in Manwhich – except an insane amount of salt.

That’s right, one can of Manwich contains 2870mg of sodium! (As a reference, it is suggested adults consume 1,500 mg or less of sodium on a daily basis). You better have some water handy – you’re going to get a tad parched!

And what are the main ingredients of Hunt’s Manwich?

“Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup”

So where is the serving of vegetables? High fructose corn syrup certainly doesn’t count (Read Travis’ post on the evils of high fructose corn syrup).

Tomato paste? Well, that must have some semblance of tomato in there. Of course, for tomato paste to be the “serving of vegetables” in Manwich, you would have to agree with the culinary definition of tomato as a vegetable, rather than its botanical (and more accurate) classification as a fruit.

So there you have it: one can of Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce contains a boat-load of sodium and some tomato paste. Maybe you shouldn’t do away with eating real fruit and veggies just yet.

Enjoy the video below (email subscribers must log onto Obesity Panacea to view).

Peter Janiszewski

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5 Response to "Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce: A Full Serving of Veggies in ½ a Can!?"

  1. thomas Said,

    wouldn't one cup of dried tomatos be higher in terms of 'full servings' than one cup of fresh tomatos?

    Posted on January 13, 2010 at 10:53 AM

  2. Jenny Said,

    I can't stand when companies jump on the current trend wagons; injecting omega-3 into butter, putting light blue labels on everything and saying it's diet (Cheese Whiz = perfect example)...the other day I saw a billboard with the website -- fur isn't green, people! Products that advertise a "full serving of veggies in every can" are along the same lines and totally tick me off. There's a Chef Boyardee commercial on air right now telling parents that when they give their kids ravioli, they're giving them vegetables too. Absurd!

    It makes me feel like companies are targeting good ol’ parental guilt with these kind of statements. “Hey, we know you’re kind’ve poor and can only afford to feed your kids Kraft Dinner…but to make up for it, we’ve made sure to put REAL CHEESE in it!” Gah.

    Posted on January 13, 2010 at 2:25 PM

  3. Stacey Said,

    The Chef Boyardee ad makes it look like parents have to tip toe around their children and cater to them, heaven forbid they actually learn to enjoy vegetables!!

    Posted on January 13, 2010 at 3:43 PM

  4. Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc Said,

    @Jenny and @Stacey

    I agree - that Chef Boyardee commercial is infuriating! Convince people that eating your slop is healthy, and while you're at it - might as well vilify fresh vegetables. Disgraceful.

    Thanks for the comments!

    Posted on January 13, 2010 at 11:14 PM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    These commercials bother me too. If things like Manwich and Chef Boyardee are considered a serving of vegetables, then I guess Cheez Whiz counts as a dairy.

    I saw a funny headline on The Onion once. "FDA Replaces 'Food Pyramid' With New 'Corn Monolith'." LOL

    Posted on February 12, 2010 at 4:10 PM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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