Wendyl Nissen: Little packet of coleslaw a pretender to the real thing

3 comments
Artificial colours and flavours should have no place in a salad.

I'm all for grabbing a ready-made salad at the supermarket or deli. Sometimes chopping and dicing and mixing is just too much effort when all you want is a bit of salad for a quick, healthy lunch or dinner.

But how do you know if you're getting a good salad that's mainly vegetables or something swimming in dressing, as this one is?

Ingredients ( in order of greatest quantity first):

Cabbage (68%)
Most of this salad is cabbage, but at only 68 per cent I find this a bit low. The very nature of a coleslaw is that it is mostly cabbage with maybe some onion and carrot thrown in.

Dressing (25%) [water, sugar, vegetable oil, (canola oil, antioxidant 319)]
This explains why the salad appears to be swimming in a white liquid. A quarter of the package is made up of dressing. The dressing is made from basic ingredients, but the antioxidant is a bit nasty. It is tert-Butylhydro-quinone, or TBHQ, which is a synthetic compound used to preserve fats and oils.

In very high doses, it is thought to be acutely toxic to lab animals. It is allowed in foods but the Food and Drug Administration in the US restricts its use to 0.02 per cent of the oil or fat content in foods. A dose of 5g is fatal and large doses can cause stomach tumours, nausea and vomiting.

Dextrose
This is a form of sugar, but the total content of sugar in this salad is not too high at 3.2g per serve and 6.4g in the entire package.

Fructose
This is another form of sugar.

Salt
Per serve you'll get 282mg of sodium, but I'm thinking most people will eat this whole package so that's 564mg of sodium.

Egg yolk
This may be in here for colour or for flavour.

Acidity regulator (260)
This is acetic acid, which is vinegar.

Thickeners (415, 412)
These are xanthan gum (415), which is fermented glucose and sucrose, and guar gum (412), which is extracted from seeds.

Dehydrated onion
This is dried onion.

White wine vinegar
This will be in here for flavouring.

Red wine vinegar
As above.

Spice extracts
Again, for flavouring.

White wine
This will also be in here for flavouring.

Flavour
This will be artificial flavouring.

Colour (161b, 150d)
The colours in here are lutein (161b), an orange flavour obtained from marigolds, and caramel IV (150d), which is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulphites under high pressures and high temperatures.

Carrots
There is a very small amount of carrot in this salad.

Onion
Also in very small amounts.

Spring onion
As above.

My recommendation:
If you want to eat salad then eat one that is 100 per cent vegetables rather than one that has 25 per cent dressing and added colour, flavour and other additives.

This salad calls itself premium but it isn't really when it is mostly cabbage, dressing and additives. It's also annoying that this tiny salad, just a little bigger than a cigarette packet, is marketed as two servings when you and I both know it's what the average person would consider one serving.

Do yourself a favour and buy some pre-prepared fresh coleslaw - you will get a 450g bag for just $3.99, which is 2.5 times more coleslaw for $1 more and features other vegetables such as carrots and onion in quantity. Some come with dressing, which you can then add sparingly, or use your own dressing or try the simple Asian coleslaw dressing (above left) and congratulate yourself for eating a proper salad rather than a dressing pretending to be salad.

- NZ Herald

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