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: Sauce low in fat but high in sugar

Too much sweetness here to deserve Heart Foundation tick

KanTong Pineapple Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce. $4.19 for 575g. Photo / Supplied
KanTong Pineapple Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce. $4.19 for 575g. Photo / Supplied

Jars of sauces like this can mean that dinner is on the table in a matter of minutes. Just fry some meat, at the sauce and heat until hot.

On the surface this jar of sauce looks fine. No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, no MSG and a Heart Foundation red tick which means it is low in fat.

But lurking in this jar is something most of us would be keen to avoid eating at our main meal of the day. Dessert, perhaps, but not dinner.


Pineapple 33% - From concentrate and pieces (pineapple, water, sugar, food acid (citric), vitamin C. As this is a pineapple sauce it is good to see that there is some pineapple in here but it does come with added sugar, a natural preservative and added vitamin C.

Vegetables 17% - Carrot, capsicum, onion.

These vegetables will be helping with the flavour as well as the bright orange colour.

Sugar - Ouch. I had to double check the nutrition panel on this jar when I read that for each 144g serving ( of the jar) you will get 28.1 g of sugar which is 6.69 teaspoons, nearly seven teaspoons of sugar. That's nearly as much as you get in a Mars bar which will give you 30.6g. (Coincidentally this food is made by the same people who make Mars bars, Mars Food).

It is common for food producers to put sugar into a product which is low in fat to help with the flavour. This product has just 0.3g fat in it, so sugar will definitely be helping out.


Tomatoes (from paste) - These will be adding flavour and colour to this sauce.

Vinegar - The vinegar will act as a sour flavour but also as a natural preservative.

Thickener (modified cornstarch) - This is cornflour.

Salt - Not too high in salt at 311mg per serving which is about 14 per cent of the recommended daily intake.

Natural colour (paprika oleoresin) - Nice to see a natural colour taken from paprika.

Ginger - This and the other ingredients below are common in Asian sauces to provide flavour.

Coriander seed



Tamarind extract - This is a common ingredient in Asian cooking which gives a distinct sour flavour to dishes.


My recommendations

What price are you willing to pay for low-fat food? Are you happy to consume nearly seven teaspoons per serve? I find the Heart Foundation tick very misleading on this label as it makes me think this food is healthy but most nutritionists would say that this much sugar in one sitting is very high.

I do accept that to get the sweet and sour flavour in this sauce you are going to need sugar, but in this case I think this sauce has taken sweet to a whole new level.


• Nearly seven teaspoons of sugar in each serve.
• No artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or MSG.
• Very low in fat.

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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