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: Extra ingredients ruin simple treat

8 comments
Birds Eye Golden Crunch Crinkles. $3.50 for 750g. Photo / Supplied
Birds Eye Golden Crunch Crinkles. $3.50 for 750g. Photo / Supplied

Who doesn't love a good chip? It must be crunchy but soft on the inside and taste like potato, not something dry and processed. I've had a particularly bad run of dry or soggy chips in restaurants lately, so I asked my friend who owns a restaurant what is going on. It's simple, he said. Many restaurants use bag chips, which are frozen and delivered to their door. Even supposedly hand-cut wedges and kumara chips! So my fantasies of chefs out the back delicately chopping my chips before cooking them are now over. And I just had to look at the ones we're cooking ourselves.

Birds Eye Golden Crunch Crinkles $3.50 for 750g

Ingredients ( in order of greatest quantity first)

Potato (84 per cent)

So these chips aren't 100 per cent potato. There is nothing wrong with potato because it contains potassium, vitamins C and B6, iron and fibre.

And in their natural state they are fat-free, cholesterol-free and salt-free.

Canola oil

This oil is marketed as a healthy oil because it is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats. It is made from rapeseed. These chips have 6.4g of fat per 100g serving, but remember that is before you fry them.

Wheat flour

This is the type of flour you would use in baking.

Thickeners (1420, 1400, guar gum)

These are starch acetate esterified with acetic anhydride (1420) which is basically a starch treated with an acid, in this case acetic anhydride. Dextrin roasted starch (1400) is a starch usually obtained from wheat, then roasted. Guar gum is a natural product. All these thickeners will be used in the coating that is put on the chips.

Corn starch

This is another thickener, the same as cornflour.

Salt

This is quite a high-salt product and tastes very salty. It has 439mg of sodium per 100g serving.

Rice flour

This will also be in the coating and will help make the chips crisp.

Acidity regulators (450, sodium bicarbonate)

These are diphosphates (450) and baking soda.

Sunflower oil

This will also be used in the coating.

Colours (carotene, turmeric)

A bit strange that you have to add colouring to a chip, but in this case at least they're natural. Carotene is orange and turmeric is a warm yellow colour.

My recommendations:

If I made chips at home I would peel and chop a potato then deep-fry, or coat in oil and bake in the oven. Then I might add some salt and pepper.

These chips differ to the simple potato version because they have 13 ingredients other than potato. They seem to be there simply to make the chips crunchy, which they are. They may have only 6.4g of fat per 100g serving, but that's before you put them in the deep fryer (you can bake if you want to). And we all know crinkle-cut chips absorb more fat because there is more surface area to do this.

If you don't want to chop up potatoes then look for frozen chips with as few additives as possible. Or invest in an air fryer which uses only a little oil to make very nice chips. I know because my parents have a DeLonghi one and they use it most nights.

Highlights

• Takes 13 ingredients on top of potato to make these chips.

• Uses colouring.

• Low fat, until you fry them.

- NZ Herald

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