Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl wants to know: DIY roast chicken hard to beat on cost, content

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Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents

Tegal Meal Maker Diced Roast Chicken, $9.49 for 320g.
Tegal Meal Maker Diced Roast Chicken, $9.49 for 320g.

Most weeks our 15-year-old takes my eftpos card and disappears to the supermarket to buy "things for lunches and snacks."

Recently her "things for lunches and snacks" have been costing an arm and a leg.

Closer investigation revealed that we were buying three packets of this a week.

"What's wrong with a roast chicken in the fridge like we always have for lunches?" I inquired.

"It's handy," she replied. "And tastes better."

This product does have flavouring and colour added, so she might have had a point.

Until I bought a ready-cooked chicken, chopped up the breast and put them in this packet, carefully hiding the original contents in the back of the fridge.

"Enjoying your special chicken?" I asked later that day.

She was. And when told it was a cheaper version she simply said:

"Meh ... chicken is chicken."


Chicken (94%) - This is 100% New Zealand chicken breast meat but not free-range.

Salt - There is 440mg of salt per 80g serving. SugarNot a lot in here, will be mainly in the chicken for flavour.


Natural flavours - Not sure what these are but at least they are natural. Corn starchThis is cornflour and will be in here as a coating/thickener.Herb

Vegetable powder (tomato, onion, garlic) - These will be dried.

Maltodextrin - This is another form of sugar but will also be in here to keep things moist.

Natural colour (150c) - I wouldn't consider this a natural colour. It is caramel III which is made by heating sugars with ammonia.

Spice extract

Acidity regulator (326,262) - These are potassium lactate (326) which is a natural acid produced from milk and sodium acetate (262).

Preservative (223) - This is sodium metabisulphite which can be a problem for people who avoid sulphites.

My recommendations

From a price point of view I can buy a whole cooked chicken at the supermarket for $13.99 (free-range for $15.49) and get 400g of breast meat as well as thighs, drumsticks, wings and a carcass for the dog or soup. For 15-year-olds you could cut up the breast and put it the fridge as a handy snack. But do be aware that the ready roasted chickens in the supermarket also have added ingredients such as mineral salts, maltodextrin, acidity regulators, thickeners, natural flavours and a natural colour (paprika).

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to buy a free-range chicken for $10.99 (about the same price as this product), roast it yourself so there are no additives and chop it up for teens in need of handy chicken.


• Has added flavour, colour, preservatives, acidity regulators.

• Tastes the same as breast off a ready-roasted supermarket chicken.

• Costs a little less than a whole chicken.

Do you have a food product you would like to feature in Wendyl Wants to Know? Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.

- NZ Herald

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