How to distinguish real red caviar from a fake?

How to distinguish fake red caviar Products

Red caviar is an expensive treat with an original and interesting taste. And how you want to treat yourself to them during the holidays! Indeed, red caviar has become a gastronomic symbol of the New Year for us, along with tangerines, Olivier salad and champagne.

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And red caviar is very useful, especially for children and pregnant women. Vitamin A contained in it helps to restore immunity. B vitamins protect the nervous system. Vitamin D strengthens bones, and vitamin E, an antioxidant, slows down aging and supports female reproductive function. Iodine and folic acid are essential for the thyroid gland.

How to choose caviar in jars and what to look for

Modern food technologies can reproduce the color of the caviar, the bud eyes in each caviar, and even the effect of a bursting shell. Only now the composition of such simulated red caviar will differ from natural, which means that there will no longer be that unique benefit for humans.

High-quality imitation red caviar is quite difficult to distinguish from natural, focusing only on appearance.

The natural color of the eggs varies in the salmon species themselves. For example, in pink salmon, the caviar of which is most often found on sale, the eggs can be light orange and deep orange. Keto caviar of amber-orange color. The darkest caviar (almost burgundy) is in sockeye salmon. But due to the extermination of this fish, such caviar is extremely rarely sold. Coho salmon caviar is also close to a dark red hue. Therefore, you should not rely on the color of the product.

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High-quality caviar made from fish oil cannot be distinguished from the real caviar in appearance. It even shows “embryos”, as in natural! And the taste difference is so insignificant that it is almost impossible to catch it.

Fake roe made from seaweed and fish broth is often almost yellow and tougher. The eggs themselves seem to consist of gelatin and do not have specks of “embryos”.

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5 rules when buying

1. Carefully examine a jar of red caviar. Like all canned food, it has an expiration date. Real red caviar can be stored for no more than 12 months. It is clear that you should not buy an expired or nearing expiration can if you are not going to feast on it right now. Refrain from buying damaged, swollen and deformed packages. The bank must have the date of manufacture, the number of the manufacturer, the number of the shift. Look for the GOST sign on the package.

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2. Pay attention to manufacturers. Choose those that work in places where fish spawn: ideally, this is Sakhalin or Kamchatka. Red caviar is produced here from May to October, just in time for salmon spawning. If caviar is not produced in these areas, then most likely frozen raw materials were originally used. This is indicated by the letters TU on the label.

What should you pay attention to when buying red caviar?
The perfect jar of caviar

3. Read the label. Honest manufacturers will write “imitated” on the packaging with fake caviar. Such caviar in appearance and taste will often not differ from natural. This is an official, high-quality fake. But imitation does not have all the useful properties of the original.

Simulated red caviar
This is an imitation of red caviar. Official fake.

4. Ask how much the delicacy costs. Natural salmon caviar is very expensive. Depending on the quality of the product, the manufacturer and the season of sale, the cost of 1 kilogram of real red caviar can start from 1200 rubles, or even more. The price of imitated caviar is much lower. Of course, expensive does not always mean high quality and natural. But cheap natural red caviar cannot be!

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5. Read the composition. Real red caviar contains 15 - 32% protein, which should be indicated on the package. Imitated - made from algae, fish broth or fish oil. There is very little protein in it - about 2% - or none at all. Which is also indicated on the packaging.

How much protein does natural red caviar contain?
A lot of protein (15-32%) - natural caviar
Little protein in simulated caviar
Imitated has a much lower protein index

Where to buy? Red caviar should not be bought from the hands, not around the corner, but in a trusted store. Please keep your receipt after purchase.

How to distinguish real caviar from a fake

But it happens that it is difficult to recognize real caviar from a can: after all, anything can be printed on the label. Then physical, chemical - and not only - experiments will come to the rescue. There are several ways to check the naturalness of caviar at home.

Read also: how to distinguish real turmeric from a fake


Freezing the product will help to recognize a fake. Place a few eggs in the freezer, and then defrost them completely.

  • After defrosting, natural grains of eggs will remain the same in appearance and taste.
  • Fake - lose their shape, deform and turn into an unappetizing mass of red.

Freezing Method

This method is good, but it should definitely be carried out at home. In addition, it takes quite a long time to wait for the result.

The heating

Protein is known to coagulate when subjected to temperature, forming visible white flakes or strands, as happens when egg white is placed in boiling water.

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Real caviar also contains protein, and there is quite a lot of it, unlike fake caviar. Therefore, you can determine the naturalness of the product using hot water.

For the experiment, you need to pour several eggs with boiling water and observe.

The protein in natural caviar will curdle. Characteristic whitish flakes form in the water. If you lower a spoon into such water, then a coating of coagulated protein will also remain on its surface. So if the spoon turned white in the water with the tested eggs, then this product is natural.

Plaque on a spoon from protein
Protein flakes from real eggs

Artificial caviar, filled with boiling water, will create a slight protein haze, and more often nothing at all. After all, the percentage of protein in the composition of such caviar is very small or absent altogether. The water will remain clear, and droplets of fat will appear on its surface.

Drops of fat from a fake
From artificial eggs only drops of fat

If the caviar is completely dissolved, and the water is colored, then you have a fake of very poor quality. The use of such caviar in food is dangerous to health.

Hydrogen peroxide

This action experience can be done in the "field" market conditions, where you do not have boiling water at hand. You will need a spoon and hydrogen peroxide, which is sold in any pharmacy.

Hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizing agent reacts with the protein found in natural caviar. And the protein, if it is in the eggs, coagulates, as if under the influence of hot water.

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Pour peroxide into a spoon with several eggs and wait a bit. The protein contained in natural caviar will curdle. In excess, the familiar white flakes are formed. It is simply impossible not to notice the reaction.

Natural caviar in peroxide
Natural caviar in hydrogen peroxide

Caviar from fish oil under the influence of hydrogen peroxide will give only a slight turbidity. This is how high-quality imitated caviar behaves, where protein is still present. Eating it will not harm the body.

Caviar from algae and fish broth with hydrogen peroxide will not react. Most likely it is a fake of not the highest quality. It is better to refuse such a purchase.

Peroxide reaction with fake
Simulated caviar in hydrogen peroxide

The fastest method

If there is no hydrogen peroxide, and you need to buy caviar urgently, then you can further simplify the heating method.

As we all know, protein coagulates when the temperature rises, so put a few eggs in a spoon and heat them with a lighter fire. If there is no spoon, then a coin will do. Everything is the same as in the experiment with boiling water.

White flakes of coagulated protein mean that the caviar is real. In a spoon with fake caviar, there will be little or no white coating at all.


The cat method

Everything is very simple here: a domestic cat will not eat artificial caviar. And if the animal has not refused the treat, then do not hesitate: this is natural caviar.

The cat does not eat fake
The cat refuses to eat a substitute for red caviar


Ordinary iodine will help determine whether the caviar is real or not in front of you. Natural eggs will not react with it, unlike imitated ones, which will change their color. True, this method is not as popular as those described above.

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Helpful Hints

  1. It is better to choose caviar in a glass container. So when buying, you can see the integrity and size of the eggs.
  2. The type of salmon must be indicated on the packaging: what specific fish this caviar is from.
  3. If you turn the jar over, then there should not be any extraneous noise or gurgling.
  4. The brine in the jar should not be cloudy. Foreign impurities are not allowed.
  5. Caviar in a can is not stored for a long time. Oxidation of the metal will harm the eggs. Ideally, use the entire product at one time.

Video: how to distinguish real red caviar from a fake?

Verified manufacturers

Independent experts of Roskachestvo to help consumers ranked the best natural red caviar that you can buy in our stores.

caviar brand Security Marking Compliance Quality final grade Note
"Tunaicha" 5

According to microbiological indicators, caviar is safe.


The product corresponds to the labeling, does not contain harmful preservatives and dyes.


Less than 1% of jus - a liquid that has leaked out of deformed eggs.

5 The experts checked the caviar of the chum salmon.
Globus 5

The product meets all safety requirements.


Without foreign impurities and preservatives, moderately salty caviar.


Approximately 1% of liquid leaked from damaged eggs, of the total volume

"Very" 5

Caviar does not contain toxic substances and is considered safe.


The product has a moderately salty taste. The actual composition and net weight correspond to the indicated marking.


Beautiful, even eggs and about 1% of juice with 5% allowed.

5 Sockeye caviar from this manufacturer participated in the competition.
"SRK" 5

There are no foreign impurities.


The composition corresponds to that stated on the package.


A high percentage (14.7%) of jus leaked from damaged eggs.

"Made at Sea" 5

Caviar meets all safety requirements.


Moderately salty taste and good appearance of eggs.


12.4% liquid leaking from bursting eggs. In the ideal caviar of this useless juice, there should be no more than 5%.

"Russian Fish World" 5

The product does not contain dyes and hazardous substances.


The appearance of caviar and the actual weight of the product correspond to those stated on the label.


A very large amount of juice - 24.4% of the total mass. And there should be only 5%.

"ARO" 5

There are no substances harmful to human health in caviar.

5 4,8

The jar contains a large amount of liquid from bursting eggs - 14.5% instead of the allowable 5%.

"Tungutun" 5

A safe product that does not contain toxins.


Salt content is normal.


Juice occupies 14.1% of the entire can.

4,91 The product is made from frozen raw materials.
Oyster 5

There are no foreign impurities and toxic substances in caviar.


There is no sign of circulation or mark of conformity on the label, which confirms that the product meets the requirements of GOSTs.


Excellent appearance of each egg. Very low percentage of liquid from broken eggs (1%) with 5% allowed.

4,875 Pink salmon caviar was tested.
"Russian Sea" 5

According to microbiological indicators, this product is considered safe.


Contains only the preservatives listed on the label.


The product includes a large amount of jus (8.9%) - liquid from burst eggs.

4,875 For testing, chum salmon caviar from this manufacturer was chosen.

What to do if you sold a fake?

Where to go if you sold a fake?


Andrey Kozhevnikov

Blog author. 7 years of experience as a Merchandiser. Specialist in the definition of quality products. Distinguished more than 5,000 fake goods. My motto: there is no limit to perfection!

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Add a comment

  1. Rail

    Here is a picture of a cat that refuses to eat a surrogate for red caviar and here they fake everything and everything ... And our relatives' friends directly buy goods from the hands of acquaintances who brought red caviar from the Far East. So the taste and quality are at their best and the price is acceptable, until they let us down.

  2. Maksim

    The New Year is coming soon and red caviar should be on every table, this is our Russian delicacy. But thanks to a chic review from you, we will be insured against all kinds of fakes. Thanks.

  3. Egor

    Relatively recently I learned that caviar can be faked. Was very surprised. Now I'll know. how to buy high-quality caviar for the festive table.

  4. Sofia

    Very useful, I didn’t even suspect that the fakes are so similar, I thought, well, I’ll be able to tell by eye, either the color is pinkish, or loose, and here are such photos, I would never have thought that it was a fake, thanks!

  5. Sergei

    The methods are all good, but we need a method BEFORE BUYING caviar (when it is still in the bank), or when it is sold at the fair, and these sellers may not appear at this fair tomorrow.

  6. Vasek

    Сейчас кстати реально научились делать имитированную икру, которая очень сильно похожа по вкусу на настоящую икру киты, к примеру. Я не большой фанат икры, но все же пока различить могу. Хотя если бы на соседний бутерброд добавили бы фальшивку, возможно бы и не заметил)))