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: Sweet treat leaves out artificial nasties

Free From Gluten Choc Brownie Mix $6.50 for 400g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen
Free From Gluten Choc Brownie Mix $6.50 for 400g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen

The free-from food industry is enjoying a huge economic bubble at the moment. According to Fortune magazine, market research firm Nielsen estimated sales of products with a gluten-free label have doubled in the past four years, rising from $11.5 billion to more than $23 billion.

Yet in the United States less than 1 per cent of the population has coeliac disease, about 6 per cent are gluten intolerant and almost 30 per cent of American adults are trying to avoid gluten.

So it's not surprising Countdown has released its own range of free-from foods which actually comes from its owner Woolworths in Australia.

You don't have to be gluten intolerant to enjoy gluten-free foods. In this case the rice flour in here to replace wheat helps to make this slice light and crispy and quite delicious.

I whipped this up in a few minutes then popped it in the oven and it was really very nice.

The other thing about free-from foods is that they often avoid other nasties too, such as artificial flavours and colours.

Often free-from foods have a much higher price point but this one seems quite reasonable. This mix is about 50c more expensive than the Betty Crocker's normal brownie mix and a dollar cheaper than Betty Crocker's gluten-free brownie mix.

Free From Gluten Choc Brownie Mix $6.50 for 400g

Ingredients (greatest quantity first):

Brownie mix sachet:


Per 1 50g slice you will get 15.9g of sugar which is just over three teaspoons. This is a sweet cake so you would expect that much sugar.

Corn starch

This is corn flour.

Tapioca starch

This is a flour taken from tapioca or cassava root.

Rice flour

Flour from rice tends to make the baked goods lighter and crispier.

Cocoa powder (2%)

This will add the chocolate flavour.

Thickener (1442 from maize)

This is Hydroxy-propyl distarch phosphate (1442) which is a treated starch, in this case taken from corn.

Natural chocolate flavour

Good to see a natural flavouring in here.

Raising agents (450,500)

These are diphosphate (450) which is a last of phosphoric acid and baking soda (500).

Iodised salt

Not too much salt in here at 180mg of sodium per 50g serve.

Compound dark chocolate buttons (37%):


As above.

Vegetable fat (from palm)

Nice to see the producer has identified palm oil in here. It means people who avoid it can make an informed decision.

Emulsifiers (492,322 from soy)

These are sorbitan tristearate (493) and lecithin (322) which is a fatty substance that occurs naturally in animal and plant tissues.

Cocoa powder (5%)

As above.


As above.

Natural flavours

As above.

My recommendations:

If you've got a gluten-free person in your family or having someone over who won't eat gluten then this is a great box to have on hand to make some chocolate treats.

It doesn't have any artificial nasties in it but do remember that it still makes chocolate brownies, which are a sweet treat, so you'll still get a big hit of sugar.

As far as cake mixes go, I rate this one highly because it is easy to make and tastes good.


• No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

• Uses rice flour which makes the brownies light and a little crispy.

• Easy to make.

- NZ Herald

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