Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label says about its contents.
Aunt Betty's Jelly Jiggle Topping
$4.69 for 340g
This brightly coloured bottle of squeezable jelly made it into my house via an enthusiastic grandfather who saw the words "made with real raspberry juice" and brought it home.
This jelly tastes like the jelly you get on the top of a Jelly Tip icecream so I can see why it would be enthusiastically accepted on some icecream by most families.
It also uses no artificial flavours which is great. But what have they used to get the bright-reddish pink colouring?
Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first):
This is a sweet topping which you put on icecream so of course it's going to have sugar in it but 41 per cent is very high. Each 20g squirt will give you just under two teaspoons of sugar.
(35 per cent) (from concentrate)
This is great to see. More and more food producers are swapping out sugar in favour of fruit sugars. It's more natural and has nutritional value, unlike sugar.
Food acids (330, 331)
These are citric acid (330) and sodium citrates (331) which will be in here to flavour, balance acidity or preserve.
Thickeners (418, 415)
These are gellan gum (418) and xanthan gum (415), both natural gums used in here to keep the jelly thick.
Hurrah! Nice to see a food producer use a natural flavouring instead of opting for a much cheaper alternative which is an artificial flavour.
This is potassium sorbate (202) which has no known health effects.
Firming agent (333)
This is calcium citrate which is a salt of citric acid and will be in here to create a jelly-like consistency.
This is a real shame.
To have bothered using a natural flavouring but then opting for amaranth or red no 2, which is a colouring banned in the United States, is disappointing.
This colour was banned in the US in 1976 because of concerns it is a carcinogen and it was reaffirmed in 1980.
Russia has also banned it and in the past Norway and Austria banned the colour.
Its use is restricted in Europe to fish roe, aromatic wines and other alcoholic drinks.
I'm all for food producers making an effort to take away artificial flavourings and use real fruit to provide flavour and sweetness.
Which is just what Aunt Betty's have done.
But, in my opinion, they stopped short of making this product a safe treat by using the artificial colour amaranth which is banned in the US for good reason. It has some nasty health studies attached to it.
Many food producers are now opting for more natural red dyes such as cochineal/carmine that are available.
So, for this reason, and this one alone I would recommend opting for homemade raspberry jam on your icecream because last time I looked you didn't have to add colour to jam.
* Uses natural flavour and real raspberry juice.
* Uses an artificial colour banned in the US.
* 41.2 per cent sugarBy Wendyl Nissen Email Wendyl