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Ragú // is a brand of Italian-style tomato sauce. It is not directly related to the Italian sauce ragù, which is meat based. The Ragú brand was first sold in 1937 and is currently one of many consumer brands in the portfolio of Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever. It is the best selling U.S. brand of pasta sauce. Ragú was acquired by the Lipton and Bestfoods companies before merging with the Unilever portfolio. It has a sister brand under the Knorr trademark in the UK. In 2011 Unilever sold the Ragu business (in a deal worth £30m) in the UK to Symington’s, a food manufacturer in Leeds, who will be dropping the Knorr Branding.
The Ragú pasta sauce line consists of smooth Old World Style sauces, Chunky sauces, bold Robusto! sauces, as well as organic and light pasta sauces. While most well known for selling jar packaged pasta sauce, Ragú also has a line of pizza sauces.
In its first several decades, Ragú advertising and sales broadened the appeal of Italian-American food in the United States, with slogans like "That's Italian!" and "Ragú brings the Italian out in you!" Americanized Italian cuisine is now the most common "ethnic" cuisine served in U.S. households, followed by variations of Americanized Mexican cuisine.
Current advertising highlights the natural ingredients and "full serving of veggies" found in the sauce. Cooked tomato foods, including Ragú, are highlighted as containing the antioxidant lycopene, which is claimed to be a cancer fighting agent.
The artwork of the gondola with the couple, and the food on the labels for the various flavors were illustrated by artist Seymour Schachter [Seymour Schachter Illustration].
Ragú had its beginnings in Rochester, New York. The Cantisano family founded the Ragu Packing Company in their home in Rochester, New York, in 1937. Much of the early activity was in Rochester, N.Y. After the Ragu name was sold, the facility in Rochester still manufactured products under the Cantisano name brand. Some of the original facility still exists and produces products for other labels (including Newman's Own) as Private Label Foods.
The Cantisano family left to create Cantisano Foods (now LiDestri Foods), and would invent Francesco Rinaldi brand of pasta sauce. The quotations "As I got older, I got better" and "Ciao Francesco Rinaldi" have gained popularity since their use in commercials for Francesco Rinaldi.
- "Unilever sells Chicken Tonight and Ragu for £30m". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-04.