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: Not-so-fast convenient food

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

Diamond Burger Mix Seasoning Mix $3.59 for 200g.  Photo / Supplied
Diamond Burger Mix Seasoning Mix $3.59 for 200g. Photo / Supplied

When I first saw this packet I assumed it was a simple sachet that you add to mince to make hamburger patties.

On closer inspection, however, one of its main attractions is the fact that it "makes meat go 50 per cent further". In other words, it has breadcrumbs in it.

This product comes under my classification of "convenience foods that actually don't save you that much time".

Sure, you can tip the contents of this sachet into mince with water and make hamburger patties. But for just a few minutes more of your time you could chop up an onion, break an egg and throw some breadcrumbs into your mince instead - and save yourself these ingredients in the process.


Ingredients

Breadcrumbs (43 per cent), cereal and cereal flours (wheat and soy) - This tells us that 43 per cent of this sachet is made up of breadcrumbs.

On closer inspection I would debate the use of the word "breadcrumbs" as the contents of this sachet look more like flour than something that has been baked and then made into crumbs. However, when I rubbed it together there were some very fine breadcrumbs in here. The flours used come from wheat and soy.

Yeast - This is what you use to make bread, which is why it is in here.

Vinegar - This is also used sometimes in the making of bread, but could be in here as a preservative or a flavouring.

Iodised salt - All salt used in bread made in New Zealand must be iodised.

Vegetable oil - Not sure what oil is used here.

Emulsifiers (471, 481, 472e) - There are three emulsifiers in this product, which are mono and diglycerides of fatty acids (471), sodium lactylate (481) and fatty acid esters of glycerol. None have any health issues but you don't need to use them in home cooking.

Preservative (282) - This is calcium propionate, which is mainly used in processed foods as a mould inhibitor.

Vitamins (thiamine, folic acid) - I'm not sure why vitamins have been added here, it's not like this is a breakfast cereal or that the makers are promoting these vitamins on the packaging. I can only think that they were already in the bread that was made into breadcrumbs.

Wheat flour - I presume this is extra flour added, which is why the texture of this mix is so powdery.

Wheat gluten - Gluten is often added to processed foods to emulsify, keep powders such as this free flowing or as a thickener.

Salt - This product is VERY high in salt. At 937mg sodium per 25g serving this is how much some people should consume in a day. Dietary guidelines are between 920 and 1600mg per day.

Sugar - You'll get just 1.3g per serving so this is in here mainly as a flavouring.

Herbs and spices - Unsure what these are.

Dehydrated onion - This is dried onion.

Worcestershire sauce powder - This will be dried Worcestershire sauce.

Flavours (milk, wheat) - No mention of natural flavours here so will probably be artificial, although flavours obtained from milk, i.e. cheese, are usually natural.

Hydrolised vegetable protein (maize) - This is otherwise known as HVP and is created when soy is boiled in hydrochloric acid and then broken down with sodium hydroxide to release the protein. It is used in foods as a flavour enhancer and sometimes as a protein filler.

Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients - I include this here because it is very puzzling that much of the packaging emphasises the fact that Diamond is a "Kiwi owned business and value you, our customers". And the original company does date back to the 1880s yet this product is made in Australia and imported.


My recommendations

The instructions say to mix with mince and water and then leave to stand for five minutes.

Well, in that five minutes you could easily chop an onion, process old bread to make cup breadcrumbs, throw these into 500g mince, add in an egg, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, some salt and pepper and there you have it.

Instead of something that tells us on its packaging that it gives "real homemade taste", you can create your own homemade taste without the addition of emulsifiers, HVP, flavourings, preservative and a lot of salt.


Highlights

• Very high in salt
• Contains flavouring
• Uses emulsifiers HVP and preservatives


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

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 22 Nov 2014 15:09:40 Processing Time: 529ms