Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: Jelly bean-style drink crammed with sugar

Pink soft drink has more teaspoons of the sweet stuff than a bottle of Coke.
Jelly Belly Gourmet Soda Strawberry Jam $2.00 for 355ml. Photo / Supplied
Jelly Belly Gourmet Soda Strawberry Jam $2.00 for 355ml. Photo / Supplied

I found this in The Warehouse, which is doing a pretty good job of taking a slice of the food market at the moment. Jelly Belly is a brand of small, highly flavoured jelly beans from the US, so a drink sporting this brand is unlikely to be a health tonic.

But when you see that it has more sugar in it than Coke has, well that's a reason to take it off the shelf and have a good, hard look at it.

Jelly Belly Gourmet Soda Strawberry Jam $2.00 for 355ml

Ingredients (greatest quantity first):

Water
This drink is mostly water, which is as it should be.

Sugar
It says on the label that this is made with 100 per cent cane sugar. Which doesn't really mean much, it's still sugar, whether it's derived from corn or cane or fruit. In this case there is a lot of it in here at a massive 42g which is 10 teaspoons in one small 355ml bottle.

A 355ml bottle of Coke has 39g of sugar.

Acidity regulators (330, 331)
These are citric acid (330) which occurs naturally in fruit and sodium citrate (331) which is a salt of citric acid.

Preservative (221)
This is sodium sulphite, which isn't a great preservative because some people are allergic to sulphur. It's quite an old-fashioned one in terms of soft drinks and is not used a lot any more because of the allergy risk.

Natural flavours
Very refreshing to see that natural flavours are used in here, because strawberry is one of the flavours that most often attracts artificial flavours.

Colours (129,133)
These are artificial. The first is allura red (129) and the second is brilliant blue (133).

Allura red was included in a voluntary phase-out called for by the UK's Food Standards Agency and an EU-wide health warning must now be put on any food or drink that contains it as it is thought to cause hyperactivity in some children.

Brilliant blue (133) is an artificial flavour that has been the topic of many studies, most recently by the European Food Safety Authority and is currently allowed in foods.

My recommendations

If you want a strawberry drink this does have natural flavours.

But that little sweet spot of goodness is largely overshadowed by the 42g of sugar, or 10 teaspoons, and two artificial colours which are not great for children to consume.

It also tastes pretty terrible, in my opinion.

If you want jelly beans then eat jelly beans, not a drink that is doctored up to taste like one.

Give this one a miss if you're looking for a sweet treat for your child on a shopping trip at The Warehouse and go for something a little more natural.

Two shelves down were some great naturally flavoured waters that would do the trick.

Highlights

• No artificial flavours.

• Two artificial colours.

• Sulphur preservative.

- NZ Herald

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