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: Sweet rainbow almost good for you

3 comments
Fruit flavouring and natural colours ease any sugary-treat guilt after that lapse at the checkout

Mentos Rainbow Chewy Dragees $1.29 for 37.5g.
Mentos Rainbow Chewy Dragees $1.29 for 37.5g.

I was standing in the supermarket checkout queue while a woman wrote a cheque. Part of me was intrigued that anyone uses cheques anymore, and then I just got bored.

Which is when I noticed these.

There's a reason brightly coloured sweets are placed right next to you at the checkout — they're called impulse buys and are designed to make you think "oh one chocolate bar will make me feel so much happier, why not?"

I usually don't give in to such temptations but when I saw the vast array of colours presented on this tube my artificial flavour and artificial colour alarms went off. I just had to see what was in them.


Ingredients

Sugar — This is a sweet and therefore the main ingredient would be sugar. There is no nutritional analysis on the packet so I can't tell you how much sugar you are consuming per lozenge.

Glucose syrup (corn) — This is corn syrup which will add to the sweet flavour.

Reconstituted fruit juices (grapefruit, strawberry, orange, grape, apple, cranberry, kiwi) — Very impressed to see that some of the flavour imparted in these sweets comes from fruit juice. And the fact that is is quite high in the list of ingredients is encouraging because it means the reconstituted juice makes up a reasonable part of the product.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut) — This is coconut oil which has been treated with hydrogen.

Acid (citric acid) — This is a natural acid often used for flavour but also as a natural preservative.

Rice starch — This is similar to cornflour but made from rice and will be in here as a thickener.

Thickeners (gum, Arabic, gellan gum) — These are all natural gums most likely in here as thickeners or stabiliser.

Flavourings — Unfortunate to see artificial flavour introduced here, but as it is low down on the list it means there isn't a lot, thanks to the addition of the reconstituted fruit juices further up.

Glazing agent (carnauba wax) — This will give the lozenges a shine on the outside. Carnauba wax is a natural product.

Emulsifier (sucrose esters of fatty acids) — These are fatty acids mainly derived from plants.

Colours (copper complexes of chlorophyllins, carotene, anthocyanins, curcumin, beet red) — Nice to see natural colours used here. Copper complexes is an olive colour, carotene is orange, anthocyanins are red, blue or purple, curcumin is orange-yellow and beet red is a purple colour.


My recommendations

Despite the fact that I had to get out a magnifying glass to read the ingredients on this product, it was well worth it to find that there was an absence of artificial colours and possibly less artificial flavour was used than would be expected.

These are a treat food, but if you're going to have one, then it's best to go for something with the least artificial ingredients you can find.


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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