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: Meal in a can sure beats chemical-cocktail noodles

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Watties Big Eat - Ravioli Bolognese
Watties Big Eat - Ravioli Bolognese

Heat-and-eat food is ready in an instant and canning process means no preservatives.

Eating food from a can takes no time at all. Put it in a saucepan or in the microwave and you have a meal in minutes. Canned food has the advantage that it is preserved by the canning process, so usually there is no need to add preservatives into the mix. And I would much rather eat a canned soup or meal like this than resort to reconstituting chemicals from a packet.

Tomatoes (60 per cent)

Any product with lots of tomatoes in it is going to be good for you. Tomatoes are high in lycopene which has been the subject of many health studies which claim that a high intake can help reduce the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. However there is no firm evidence this is the case. And the studies concentrated on tomato intake rather than lycopene supplements which means that the other nutrients found in tomatoes such as Vitamin C, folate and potassium might be giving benefits rather than the lycopene.

One thing everyone agrees on is that tomatoes are very good for you and a good vegetable choice.

Ravioli (25 per cent)

[Wheat semolina, water, wheat flour, breadcrumbs (contain soy), ricotta cheese, egg, carrot, cheese powder, maize starch, parmesan cheese, salt canola oil, onion flakes, garlic, pepper. Contains traces of sesame]

These are little packages of pasta which are filled with a cheese filling and are very fiddly to make yourself. The ingredients in these ravioli are all real foods with no additives.

Beef (8 per cent)

This will be the mince in the Bolognese sauce. That's not a lot of meat but you are getting 15.2g of protein per serve. It is recommended that we eat between 78g and 13g a day of protein.

Onion

This will be part of the Bolognese sauce.

Maize thickener (1422)

This is acetylated distarch adipate which is a treated starch with no known health issues.

Canola oil Traditionally with an Italian dish such as Bolognese, olive oil would be used but canola oil is cheaper for a mass produced product like this.

Salt

There is 1250mg of sodium per serve of this product.

The recommended amount of sodium is between 920mg and 1600mg per day so you're getting most of your salt allowance in here.

Maize starch

This is corn starch and will most likely be in here to thicken.

Sugar

There is just under two and a half teaspoons of sugar in here. It will be in here most probably as a flavouring.

Beef stock

As you would use in a Bolognese sauce.

Yeast extracts

In here as a flavour.

Herbs and spices

Herb and spice extracts.

Flavours

Unfortunately there is some artificial flavour in here, but as it is nearly last in the list we can be thankful it is in very small amounts.

Natural colour (paprika extract).

This is a natural orange colour taken from paprika.

My recommendations

For a canned product this tastes pretty good and at 1560kj is great for a meal on the run.

I would rather my kids heated up a can of this than made instant noodles with a sachet of chemicals.

It has good levels of protein, lots of tomatoes and no artificial colours or preservatives.

It does have some artificial flavour but it is a very small amount so that is a blessing.

- NZ Herald

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