Top 8 takeaway tunas tested

A canned favourite, tuna is difficult to assess health-wise. Fresh, it has plenty of healthy omega fatty acids, but cooked and canned, the processing leaves it with far less and about half the amount of vitamin D.

Still, there are other benefits such as potassium and iron, but oily fish stores mercury in its fat so keep away from it if pregnant and if not, keep consumption to a few times a week.

About 26% protein in tuna means we can expect it to sustain us until our next meal. Use tuna with olives, cooked new potatoes, anchovies, tomatoes, and hardboiled eggs for a classic Nicoise salad. 

Add lettuce —local, Cos or Baby Gem — to complete the colour and nutritional variety.

It can be difficult to track sustainability from the labelling. 

‘Line-caught’ suggests that fishing does not involve catching other smaller species and avoids overfishing. However, nets can be used at the same time, and multiple lines offer little protection.

Look for fish that has been caught in relatively clean Irish waters during a limited six-week period each year. Vacuum packed and frozen, or canned, usually in Spain, it is now possible to find Irish tuna all year.

Albacore and skipjack seem to be the least endangered species, yellowfin less so, while bluefin is the most at risk of overfishing. Buying Irish means we have some contact with producers we can trust.

Sally Barnes Woodcock Smokery hot smoked albacore tuna 150g €5.80

Vacuum packed, this is my go-to easy starter or lunch dish. Mash or pulse with creme fraiche and add a little lemon juice or horseradish for an extra kick. This tuna is caught in Irish waters, and with Sally Barnes we are assured of its integrity. 

This is a generous portion of fish with no preservatives and maximum nutrients, with just salt added. Gently hot smoked. 

For stockists/order on line: www.woodcocksmokery.com 

Score: 9.5

Shines wild yellowfin tuna 111g (drained 73g) €4.20

The fish from this wide range of tuna products comes from Irish waters. Currently packaged in Spain with local olive oil, in cans and jars, the tuna has plenty of flavour and was popular among tasters who were glad to see this product is Irish. Widely available.

Score: 9

Fish 4 Ever Yellowfin tuna 120g (90g drained) €4.20

Sustainably fished, the website explains it is pole and line caught. Organic olive oil is used with fish which caught off the coast of Senegal/Middle East Atlantic, so it has traveled more miles than we would prefer. 

I found this in The Village Grocer, Castlemartyr, Co Cork.

Score: 7

Ortiz El Velero Bonito del Norte 112g (82g drained) €3.19

It’s always good to see Dolphin Friendly on a label. Bonito del Norte is a species of tuna fished around the Bay of Biscay and is often line caught. This one in olive oil has good flavour and a soft texture. Good for salads. Widely available.

Score: 8

Marks & Spencer albacore tuna loins 225g (160g drained) €5.20

This jar of pole and line caught tuna are in fingers in extra virgin olive oil. Juicy and with good flavour, it is packed in Spain from fish caught in the North Pacific from a sustainable fishery. Tasters loved the texture.

Score: 8

John West Infusions 80g €1.99

In a snap shut carton, this small portion has rehydrated dried garlic and red chilli and salt added for a fairly pleasant flavour. Handy for the car or beach as an easy lunch. 

An idea to prepare at home with better value and quality tuna. Not a favourite of tasters, but one taster said she might buy it if she were on a diet.

Score: 5

Aldi Ocean Rise pole & line tuna steak 200g (150g drained weight) €1.19

For those watching their weight, steak packed in brine is better than oily versions. There are oil packed versions available too. The texture is quite flaky and while a steak, it is not the prime cut. 

Fish has been caught in Central Eastern Atlantic and West Indian ocean or Central Western Pacific, so we cannot be sure exactly where our particular tinful comes from.

Score: 7

Palacio de Oriente Bonito del Norte 230g (155g drained) €5

This can is the largest we found and is a good size for a family meal. A decent chunk of white tuna (albacore) is canned in Spain with olive oil and salt. 

A tasty piece of fish, it is certified sustainable, but it was difficult for the supplier to say exactly where it is caught as fish comes from wherever stocks are available.

Score: 8


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