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: Best cream cheese not always home grown

Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese 250g — $4.15
and Tararua Traditional Cream Cheese 250g — $4.49

Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese $4.15/250g. Tararua Traditional Cream Cheese. $4.49/250g.
Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese $4.15/250g. Tararua Traditional Cream Cheese. $4.49/250g.

Cream cheese is a great alternative to butter on toast, especially if you are teaming it with salmon or my latest food craze, sliced fresh strawberries.

It has less fat than butter and provides a different taste.

When choosing cream cheese recently in the supermarket, I kept away from the product with the American name, thinking it would be full of unnecessary additives. I was surprised to see it was the Kiwi cream cheese I needed to be wary of.


Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Milk - This is an essential ingredient of any cheese.

Cream - Used to make this cheese a cream cheese.

Salt - For flavour and for preserving.

Vegetable gum (410) - This is locust bean gum (410) which will be in here as a stabiliser.

Starter culture - This is essential to making any cheese and will usually be in the form of bacteria which gives the cheese its distinctive flavour. If I was to make this at home a starter culture such as yoghurt would be introduced.

Tararua Cream Cheese

Cream - As above, except in this cheese the cream content is higher than the Philadelphia one.

Milk solids - These are the solids left in milk when water is removed. These are possibly in here to fill out the cheese.

Milk - As above.

Salt - As above.

Acidity regulator (270) - This is lactic acid (270) which occurs naturally in milk. Not sure why they have added extra.

Emulsifiers (450,452,451,339) - These are diphosphates (450, 452, 451) and sodium phosphate (339) which are in here to prevent oil and water separating.

Thickener (401) - This is sodium alginate (401) which will be in here to keep the cheese thick.

Flavour - This will be an artificial flavour and I can only presume it is here to help it taste like a genuine cream cheese.

My recommendations

The Philadelphia cream cheese (which is made in Australia) is a real cheese.

It has a starter culture and does not need the addition of emulsifiers and artificial flavour.

The Tararua cheese has no culture, so in my opinion is not technically a cheese.

It is a mixture of milk, cream and additives designed to make it taste like cream cheese.

If I was to make this at home I would use milk, rennet, yoghurt and salt which is much closer to the Philadelphia cream cheese ingredients.

I personally think the Philadelphia tastes better too.

- NZ Herald

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