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: Key to sugar rush hides in pancake ready mix

Edmonds Shaker Pancakes Original - $3.79 for 350g

There's not a lot wrong with this mix, but you really don't need that amount of sugar. Photo / Wendyl Nissen
There's not a lot wrong with this mix, but you really don't need that amount of sugar. Photo / Wendyl Nissen

Kids just love freshly cooked pancakes and they make a lovely family breakfast in the weekend served with maple syrup, lemon and sugar or fresh berries and yoghurt.

A friend used this product for her kids who loved the pancakes. But then she noticed that her daughter would get a big sugar rush, then low a few hours after consuming them.

She stopped buying it and now makes them from scratch. A quick look at the ingredients label doesn't show too many nasties but how much sugar is lurking in there?

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first):

Wheat flour - This is ordinary flour as you would use if you made pancakes from scratch.

Sugar - Ouch, there's a lot of sugar in here. Per serving of three pancakes you will get 4.8 teaspoons or 20.2g. And that's before you add maple syrup or lemon and sugar.

Starch (wheat, maize) - This will be like cornflour except you have it made from wheat as well and will be in the mix as a thickener.

Milk solids - These will be in here to replace milk that you would use in a recipe at home.

Raising agents (sodium bicarbonate, 341, 541) - Joining baking soda as a raising agent are calcium phosphate (341) and sodium aluminium phosphate (541).

Egg powder - This is dried egg.

Flavours - It says on the label "no artificial colours or preservatives" but it doesn't say no artificial flavours, so we must presume the flavours in here are not natural.

Salt - This is quite high in salt at 445mg per serving of three pancakes.

Vegetable gum (xanthan) - Xanthan gum is fermented glucose and sucrose.

My recommendations

If you look up a recipe for pancakes, it doesn't usually include sugar. You add a sweet flavour by pouring on maple syrup, or sprinkling with lemon and sugar so why put so much of it in the mix?

There's not a lot wrong with this mix, but you really don't need that amount of sugar.

Elisabeth Pederson who used to be the New Zealand Herald's cookery columnist in the 80s gives this great recipe in her book The New Zealand Herald Cookbook. It takes five minutes to make which is three minutes more than it takes to add water and shake this mixture up:

• 1 cup flour, pinch of salt, 2 large eggs, 100ml water, 200ml milk, 25g butter, melted.

• Sift flour and salt, make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Using a whisk, blend eggs into flour, gradually drawing it in from the sides, then slowly add milk and water mixed together. Whisk until smooth.

• Just before cooking, whisk in butter and tip batter into a jug.

If you serve these with apple slices cooked in a little butter or fresh berries and yoghurt, you are keeping the sugar levels way down.

And if you're busy in the weekends you could make this the night before and keep in the fridge until morning.


• 4.8 teaspoons of sugar per three pancakes
• Artificial flavour
• Takes two minutes to prepare

- NZ Herald

Read Wendyl's columns on other food products here.

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