Review: Tuna With Added Calcium

Tuna review by Starting Solids Australia

John West has recently released a calcium enriched tuna. The tuna range has a calcium-rich bone powder added into it, which significantly boosts the overall calcium content. It claims to not impact the flavour, but it does produce a slightly different texture if eaten on its own. When mixed in with other ingredients or as part of a meal, you can’t tell the difference.

We are only comparing the tuna in spring water, but tuna in olive oil is also a good option. Nutritionally the olive oil version is similar to spring water except for the fat and energy content which is much higher.  Other flavours may be much higher in sodium and less suitable for babies, so it is helpful to check the sodium content. Noted that in the John West calcium added range the sodium is all fairly similar. 


What is in it?

MSC certified purse seine caught skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) (fish) (65%), springwater, tuna bone powder (fish) [calcium source] (4%), salt.

  • 1220mg of calcium per 100g (949mg per 90g tin) which is HUGE! One tin is twice the calcium needs of a 1–3-year-old and 3 times the needs of 7-12 month old. 
  • 384mg per 100g sodium- so it is just squeezing into the moderate range but borderline high. Making it a product we wouldn’t be including regularly in a 7 to 12-month old’s diet. 
  • Great source of protein at nearly 23g per 100g. This is almost double what most 12 to 18-month-old kids would need*


How does it compare to regular old tuna?

  • Nutritionally it is practically the same, other than the calcium! 
  • Price wise- it might surprise you, but it is actually cheaper to buy the tuna with calcium in it in the John West range than without calcium ($2.00 compared to $2.70). However, compared to other cheaper brands that come in at $0.90 per tin, it is much more expensive. 


The take home:

If you have a dairy free little one, then it is another great way to get that much needed calcium into their diet. This becomes particularly important after 1 as milk feeds aren’t the focus compared to diet. 

The calcium is high but also double to triple the daily needs depending on age. If you use it, adding it to a pasta bake, patties or a sandwich where you can spread the tuna out over a few meals is a good idea. This also makes it more cost effective for the increased price .

Keep the sodium in mind - again spreading it out over a few meals helps with this. And finally, the added calcium is not really necessary if your little one is having dairy food and getting calcium enough from these.


*this is an estimate based on the average weight of child at this age.