You are what you eat
'Chop Chop" is all about great food quickly, according to New Zealand company Davies Foods.
Chop Chop Chicken comes in a range of 10 flavours, while the tuna is available in six flavours. The tuna is in a single-serve 85-gram can, with the chicken in 85g and 160g cans. The chicken is made in Davies Foods factory in Thailand.
We have been used to fish in a can for a long time and, more recently, have got to know various flavours of canned fish.
Chicken in a can is, however, a whole new concept and one I have taken a while to embrace.
When wanting quick cooked chicken, I have tended to go for shredded chicken from the deli section in the supermarket.
That only comes in one flavour, but I know I am getting just one ingredient (cooked chicken) and it is New Zealand chicken, since raw poultry imports are banned to protect our disease-free status.
With Chop Chop, the proportion of chicken in the can varies from 64 to 80 per cent. Italian tomato flavour has the lowest chicken content, with 12 other ingredients making up the can. The salt content of this flavour is also the highest in the range, at 613 milligrams per 100g.
Dietitians recommend products to have a salt (sodium) content below 450mg per 100g. Four of the 10 flavours have less than this much salt, two have marginally more and four are considered high in salt - between 540mg to 844mg per 100g.
All the flavours for both the chicken and the tuna are low in fat and sugar.
Similarly, the Chop Chop Tuna varies in tuna content from 65 to 85 per cent, with sodium content ranging from 450mg to 790mg per 100g. Four of the six flavours would be considered high in salt.
The website (chop-chop.co.nz) gives a wide range of recipes for both the chicken and the tuna. Soups, pizzas, quiches, baked potatoes, pasta dishes, salads and coleslaws, along with the usual pita pockets, wraps and tortillas - all sound interesting and delicious after adding a can of Chop Chop and a host of other ingredients.
At about $3.20 for two serves, is it an economical source of ready-to-use chicken? 100g of shredded chicken from the supermarket deli is about $2.60, while 100g of Chop Chop works out at about $2.50, so there is a slight saving there.
My taste test found little difference in flavour or texture when shredded chicken and Chop Chop chicken in spring water were compared as ingredients in salad sandwiches.
The advantage of Chop Chop over shredded chicken is the convenience of being able to have it in stock for an indefinite period of time and, perhaps, that it comes in a variety of flavours.
So, it is definitely good to have in stock if you are miles from a shop.
Personally, I will stick to shredded chicken for my lunches, because I know I am eating less additives, including salt, and that I am eating New Zealand chicken.
Jill Nicholls is a New Zealand registered dietitian.
Taranaki Daily News