Italian pasta sauces are offered by many different brands, but there are usually two that come to mind when it’s time to make spaghetti.
What’s the difference between Ragu and Prego? Ragu offers a full-body flavor that leans a bit more on sweeter notes. Prego has a slightly spicier and chunkier sauce which can be great for all-purpose cooking. Ragu pairs incredibly well with pasta, while Prego can be used for any Italian recipe!
There is so much more to both of these iconic sauces. Read below to learn more about their differences, similarities, and what each brand offers!
Ragu – Where It All Started
Ragu may be an all-American brand, but its origins are rooted in traditional Italian cuisine.
The brand was created in 1937 with humble beginnings. The founders, a married Italian couple, first started making the classic sauce in their basement which they packaged and sold on their front porch.
Ragu was known for its unique, balanced sauce that delivered an authentic Italian flavor. Over the years, the brand grew in popularity, and it wasn’t long until the family established a factory and started to mass produce their iconic sauce.
Today, Ragu has a wide variety of sauces that you can use to make not just pasta dishes, but virtually every type of recipe that calls for Italian tomato sauce!
Ragu provides a range of traditional and “contemporary” sauces. Here are all of their offerings:
- Ragu Simply Sauces
- Ragu Old World Style Sauces
- Ragu Chunky Sauces
- Ragu Cheese Sauces
- Ragu Pizza Sauces
Ragu Simply Sauces
Notable Sauce: Ragu Simply Pasta Sauce – Traditional
Pasta sauces are notorious for their sugar content, which can add empty calories and can also hinder dietary goals.
Ragu’s line of Simply Sauces is targeted toward people who value natural flavors and want a healthier all-purpose sauce.
These sauces do not contain any added sugar and can be enjoyed with a range of different Italian dishes.
They are available in various flavors like roasted garlic, garden vegetable pasta sauce, chunky sauce, marinara sauce, and traditional pasta sauce.
Ragu Old World Style Sauces
Notable Sauce: Traditional Old-World Style Sauce
This is the sauce that put the brand on the map!
The Old-World Style sauces offer an authentic Italian flavor with a rounded and full-body flavor.
The great thing about this sauce is that it can be used to make any classic Italian recipe.
It stays true to the flavor and characteristics of the cuisine, but also manages to add some regional customizations, too – which makes these sub-products perfect for North American customers!
Ragu Chunky Sauces
Notable Sauce: Ragu Chunky Pasta Sauce – Garden Combination
A common complaint that many people have with store-bought sauces is their consistency.
Ragu’s plain sauces are fully homogenized and there is very little texture to them — which makes them ideal for a lot of recipes, but also takes away from the heartiness of the sauce.
The brand fixed this problem by introducing a range of chunky sauces that delivered cut vegetables, diced tomatoes, and spices.
If you want a bit more texture and a natural-tasting sauce then we recommend that you go with any product offered in the Chunky Sauces category.
Ragu Cheese Sauces
Notable Sauce: Ragu Pasta Sauce – Classic Alfredo
Ragu cheese sauces can be used to make alfredo or any general white sauce for pasta recipes.
This line of sauce is known for its pronounced cheesy flavors and it pairs extremely well with any type of pasta.
It’s made with a delicious combination of aged asiago, Romano, parmesan, and fontina.
These specialty sauces are available in many variations like a classic alfredo sauce, basil alfredo sauce, garlic parmesan sauce, and much more!
Ragu Pizza Sauces
Notable Sauce: Pizza Sauce Ragu Homemade Style
Ragu ends its product line with its unique pizza sauce.
While the brand offers only one pizza sauce variation, it is perhaps the only one you will need to make tasty pies at home!
The sauce is made from vine-ripened tomatoes and authentic Italian seasonings that take this sauce to the next level.
It has a smooth yet appropriately thick consistency and can be used to make any type of authentic-tasting pizza from the comfort of your kitchen.
Prego – A Brief History
Prego is a trademark brand of the Campbell Soup Company, which gives Prego the advantage of experience and scale! The Campbell Soup Company has been around for over 150 years and is an iconic brand in itself.
Known for making condensed soups and other canned products, Campbell wanted to enter the market with a tomato-based product that wasn’t ketchup.
The company hired experienced chefs and started developing the basis of what would soon become Prego.
Prego launched in 1981 to huge success thanks to its uniquely thick sauce and clever marketing.
Campbell had cracked the code of canning thick, chunky sauces without letting them separate. The sauce was known for its consistency and natural flavors, which were achieved through many years of research and development.
In comparison, other brands at the time used starch or other thickeners to alter the consistency of their product, which ultimately lead to a commercial and non-homemade feel.
Prego was able to introduce authentic flavors that were slightly altered for the North American taste palette. This, along with its freshness and thick consistency, made it a big winner.
Prego dominated the market with an unprecedented 28% market share in its first year – an unheard-of feat, especially in an already established market!
Prego similarly offers a lot of diverse sauces. Here are all of its main sauce categories:
- Prego’s Classic Italian Pasta Sauces
- Prego’s Alfredo Sauces
- Prego Farmers’ Market®
- Pizza Sauce and Basil Pesto Sauce
Prego’s Classic Italian Pasta Sauces
Notable Sauce: Prego’s Classic Pasta Sauce – Traditional
Prego’s line of classic sauces is what propelled the brand to stardom.
Made from high-quality, vine-ripened tomatoes and authentic Italian seasonings, the classic sauce is the best place to start for anyone who wants to experience the brand’s products.
The sauce is notable for its unique flavor that is neither too spicy nor too “tomato-y” — it’s the perfect balance between authentic and regional flavors!
Prego’s Alfredo Sauces
Notable Sauce: Homestyle Alfredo
Just like Ragu, Prego also offers a wide range of alfredo sauces.
Prego provides a homemade feel with its white sauces.
These sauces are made with a combination of cheese and cream which gives them both flavor and heartiness.
This sauce is best used in pasta recipes, but you can also use it as a topping for other types of food too!
Notable Sauce: Prego+ Hidden Super Veggies Sauce
Prego+ sauces are specially made for health-conscious folks.
There are just two sauces in the Prego+ category — both of them are known for their mix of healthy vegetables.
It contains a mix of six “super veggies”: sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, butternut squash, spinach, and roasted red pepper.
These added ingredients bump up the nutritional profile of the sauce and provide a good chunk of your Daily Value (Daily intake) of greens!
Prego+ sauces are designed to have the same great original flavor as the traditional sauce, even with the added ingredients. This is why Prego markets these sauces as having “hidden veggies.”
Prego Farmers’ Market
Notable Sauce: Prego Farmers’ Market Classic Marinara
The farmers’ market line of sauces brings the same unique taste, but with a focus on premium-quality vegetables and ingredients.
This sauce contains no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, and no added preservatives.
It’s the perfect solution for anyone who is looking for a go-to natural sauce that they can use in a wide variety of recipes.
There are two sauces in this sub-category, the other one being a blend of roasted garlic. Both of them are made from vegetables that were picked and processed at their peak of freshness!
Pizza Sauce And Basil Pesto Sauce
Notable Sauce: Pizzeria Style Pizza Sauce
Prego has a little bit of an edge in this category because it offers two pizza sauces and a standalone Basil Pesto sauce.
Prego’s pizza sauce is known to have a slightly thicker consistency and it is formulated to taste just like a classic pizzeria sauce.
It’s made from high-quality ingredients and offers a pairing of fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and Italian seasonings.
The separate Basil Pesto sauce is an excellent condiment that you can also use as a garnish in multiple recipes!
So What’s The Difference?
We know that was a lot of information to process, so we’ll lay out the differences between the two. Here is a comparison of both brands’ overall sauciness!
Ragu’s reputation is built on premium quality tomatoes that are ripened to perfection before they are processed.
This focus on freshness and natural flavors is what helped Ragu gain its market share. The brand uses high-quality spices and other seasoning ingredients to flavor its products, too.
Ragu is also keen on introducing new sauces, recipes, and improvements to its existing product line. It is one of the most trustworthy brands in the Italian sauce market and is beloved by many people for its quality.
As mentioned, Prego’s connection to its parent company, Campbell, is what gives it an edge. This brand carries the same reputation and standards set by Campbell.
This means that you will always get a premium-grade tomato product that is superior in how it is made and packaged.
Since Campbell pioneered canned foods and paved the way for many new inventions that improved food quality and shelf life, you can always be sure that you will get your money’s worth when you purchase a product from Prego.
Flavor And Nutrition
Ragu is known for its sweeter notes in almost every sauce. The addition of sugar is by design because research indicates that the North American market prefers a sauce that has a bit of sweetness to it.
The brand balances its tomato flavor and sweetness with the help of Italian seasonings and salt.
This characteristic makes Ragu not just a great-tasting and surprisingly versatile pasta sauce, but a reliable tomato sauce that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Ragu also offers a balanced nutritional profile and you can also find some organic and healthier sauce alternatives by the brand, too.
Prego has always maintained a natural homemade and authentic tomato sauce flavor.
The brand focuses on providing a balance, much like Ragu – but the main difference here is that Prego uses a range of complex flavors and doesn’t just focus on a neutral or sweeter flavor.
This means that you can expect hints of Italian spices, tanginess from the tomatoes, and supporting flavor notes from the other herbs and ingredients.
Nutritionally, Prego has been consistent in delivering products that have a higher amount of macro and micronutrients. Prego+ is a great example of the brand’s commitment to delivering nutrient-dense sauces.
Ragu’s sauces are usually thinner than what Prego offers. Ragu seems to focus more on the spread-ability and plate-presence of the sauce when used in pasta recipes.
Its slightly thinner consistency allows it to fully coat pasta shapes and can also come in handy when making meat-based recipes too.
The brand also provides a separate line of chunky sauces that are designed to have more variation in flavor and texture than its traditional sauce.
Prego sauces are generally thicker and also contain visible chunks of vegetables like onions and bits and pieces of tomatoes.
This gives the sauce a feeling of being homemade which is important to consumers since they don’t want an industrial-tasting sauce.
However, like its competitor, Prego also provides a range of sauces with varying consistencies to cater to every type of customer.
Ragu boasts an impressive line of products. It has a sauce in every major food category!
You can find a tomato sauce for every type of pasta, meat-based recipes, and pizzas. Ragu’s sauces are very universal and since they are flavored just right, they can be used in a range of different recipes with ease.
Prego has a sauce for everyone too! The brand offers a range of different sauces in multiple categories.
Whether it’s all-natural sauces, traditional pasta sauces, white sauces, extra-veggie sauces, or pizza sauces, you will find Prego’s presence in nearly every major Italian (and some non-Italian) recipe.
|Flavor||Slightly sweeter with balanced spiciness and tanginess.||Complex flavors. Tangy, sweet, and spicy.|
|Texture||Traditional sauces are smooth and homogenized. Chunky sauces contain small pieces of veggies.||Contains bits and pieces of tomatoes, onions, and visible spices.|
|Variety||Multiple variations in each category.||Multiple variations in each category. Offers more pizza sauce varieties.|
|Aroma||Tomato, mildly spicy.||Strong tomato aroma with aromatic spices.|
|Uses||Pasta, meat sauces, pizza, and more.||Pasta, meat sauces, pizza, and more.|
Ragu and Prego are both iconic sauce brands that have changed the way we make and consume Italian recipes at home.
Now that you know all about them, here are some related questions!
Which sauce is best for making lasagna?
You can opt for a marinara sauce by either brand to make lasagna at home. There are several easy recipes that you can find that use Ragu or Prego sauces.
If you want to play it safe, then we recommend using Prego’s marinara sauce for a spicier, thicker, and more flavorful kick.
Does Ragu sauce contain dairy?
Ragu sells a lot of sauces with cheese, but its traditional lineup of sauces will not contain any dairy – unless it is specified on the packaging.
Some people believe that traditional Ragu sauce contains cheese to thicken the consistency and add flavor, but this is not true! When in doubt, always check the back for more detailed information on ingredients and nutrition.