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Rao's maranara sauce @ $10 - What gives?

Shopping at Vons (Safeway) today I came across these jars of Rao's sauces (Maranara, and other Italian styles) and they were $9.89 a jar! The same size at the store brand for $1.00 Can you CHowhounds please explain why that brand is so expensive? Is it laced with gold?

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  1. I've got to admit, I find it pretty exceptional. I had always scoffed at it until I found a recipe called "Liar's Soup" in Real Simple (1 jar Rao's, 1 can cannelini beans, garlic), and it insisted that it had to be Rao's. I bought it when it was marked down from $7.99 to $6.99, and I found it quite delicious. Worth it? Maybe not - but I never did try that soup recipe, so I picked up a jar a few weeks ago.

    1. I'll do you better. I've seen it for $12!

      1. I think you are paying for the recipe, not the ingredients. I've seen many people post that they thought Rao's was the best-tasting jarred tomato sauce ever. Whether the high price is worth it is up to the individual -- I've had it once or twice, and while I agree it's very tasty for a jarred sauce, I personally cannot justify the expense when with a can of tomatoes, an onion and a stick of butter I can make Marcella Hazan's delicious tomato sauce for a quarter of the price of a jar of Rao's, but to each their own.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DanaB

          I can justify it. I would have to shop, cook (even if easy), clean. Rao's is fabulous! Best I have found and I have tried waaaaay too many to count. Simple, pure, not sweet, not too thick, seasoned just right with minimal touches. Worth every penny to me.

        2. In CT it has peaked at $9 and Stew Leonard's has it at 2 for $10. I am reading other labels to look elsewhere. Although I love the dtuf, it is fabulous, at $9 I will crank up the recipe in the Rao's book and freeze.

          1. Rao's is excellent but pricy. Try to find the line of jarred Cento sauces made with San Marzano tomatoes; it's better. The vodka sauce is exceptionally smooth (and not too rich in dairy).

            6 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              My turn to agree with you. We've stopped buying Rao's (even at a locally available price of $6.99) in favor of Cento's: their line of sauces is tastier than Rao's, uses high quality all natural ingredients beginning with those fabulous San Marzano's, and sells for $3.99.

              1. re: Striver

                I also stopped buying Rao's for nothing othaer than the price. I picked up some Cento's as well, but it is not Rao's. It's a little sweeter and less garlicky. But for 1/3 the price it replaces Rao's on my table.

                1. re: jfood

                  If you like a more peppery sauce, try Cento's Arrabiata. Also, it's easy to doctor the Cento with some sauteed garlic, if that's what's lacking for you. I can pick up Rao's for $6.99, but I'd prefer the Cento overall even if it was priced the same as Rao's.

                  1. re: Striver

                    Agreed on Cento. We (the family) recently taste-tested Rao's, Patsy's, Mom's, Victoria's and Cento's marinara and Cento won hands down with Victoria coming in right behind it. Rao's was definitely sweeter in a non-tomatoey way than Cento's. Cento's tomato taste was sweeter and much better. The tomato being a fruit after all.

                    Cento's tastes the closest to what you could make from fresh garden tomatoes if you had the time.

                    1. re: Striver

                      The Cento Arrabbiata is exceptional.

                    2. re: jfood

                      i prefer <<less garliky>> becaue imho, garlic does not do well when processed at such high heat.