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: Bluebird chips away at fake flavours

Copper Kettle Chips Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream $3.99 for 150g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen
Copper Kettle Chips Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream $3.99 for 150g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen

Way back in 2010 I analysed Eta Roast Lamb and Mint chips and found 28 ingredients, none of them roast lamb or mint.

Since then I've seen other flavoured chips such as Paua Fritters with Lemon Wedges and Sunday Roast (the crispy bits left in the pan) released by Bluebird.

I found that flavoured chips are achieved by using complex chemical formulations, not the actual food. So for the past six years I have only eaten plain chips - the ones with red packaging - because they have just three ingredients, potatoes, oil and salt, rather than 25 additives and artificial flavours.

So when this newcomer to the supermarket caught my daughter's eye I told her to buy them. It had been a while since I had looked at flavoured chips but I doubted much had changed. We got them home and I was pleasantly surprised.

Copper Kettle Chips Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream $3.99 for 150g

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first):

Potatoes

These are the primary ingredients in chips so it's good they are listed first on the ingredients.

Sunflower oil

Cooking these chips in sunflower oil means that all trans fats are eliminated and there is a low saturated fat content. Per 40g (about 25 chips) serving you will get 1g of saturated fat, 1.3g of polyunsaturated fat and 9.7g of monounsaturated fat. That's a total of 12.1g of fat per serving.

Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a white powder made from corn, rice, potato starch, wheat and also tapioca. It is made by cooking the starch then adding acids or enzymes to break it down. The result is a white powder which is water-soluble and has a neutral taste. It can be used as a thickener, a filler and a preservative in processed foods.

Salt

Chips by their very nature are a salty product. You will get 152mg per 40g serve.
Sugar

This will be in here for flavour but there is not a lot of sugar in here at 1.1g per 40g serve.

Dextrose

Another form of sugar.

Onion powder

This is dehydrated onions.

Natural flavours (milk)

Good to see natural flavours derived from milk in here.

Mustard powder

More natural flavour.

Wagyu beef powder

This is a new one for me. Beef powder makes me think of beef stock powder which comes in varying degrees of quality. I'm not a food scientist so I'm not absolutely sure how you would take a piece of beef and turn it into powder but my research tells me that you can render the meat down, take the fat off and mix with the aforementioned maltodextrin to make a beef powder. There is some protein listed in the nutrition panel - 3.4g per 40g serving so that proves there is actually some meat in here as potatoes have a little protein, but only 2g per 100g. Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed famous for its nutty-flavoured, fat-marbled beef, although according to the packet this wagyu beef comes from Australia.

Yeast powder

This will add to the meaty flavour of the chips.

Vinegar powder

Dehydrated vinegar, in here most likely for flavour.

Food acid (citric acid)

This could be in here as a natural preservative or as a flavour.

Spices (black pepper, ginger, chilli)

Yeast extracts

More meaty flavour.

Wasabi powder

Wasabi is a form of horseradish, which is Japanese. Most people will be familiar with it as an accompaniment to sushi.

Cocoa powder

This could be in here for flavour, but I think it might be in the coating on the chips to give them a brown colour.

Soy sauce powder

This will also add to the meaty/salty flavour.

Horseradish powder

This will be normal horseradish, possibly to beef up the wasabi flavour.

Cream powder (milk)

This is most likely in here for flavour.

Herb (parsley)

Natural colours (paprika extract, turmeric)

Great to see natural colours being used here.

My recommendations:

It is such a nice experience to look at the ingredients list of these chips and find that they are not only naturally coloured but naturally flavoured as well, and there is no MSG. For the producer, Bluebird, to have come so far in six years from producing artificially flavoured chips to these, which are pretty much the real deal, is fantastic and just proves that when consumers use their purchasing power to back natural products big producers will take note. So well done. These also taste really great.

Highlights:

• It says wagyu beef and wasabi on the packet and those ingredients are actually in the bag.
• No artificial flavours, colours or MSG.
• Cooked in sunflower oil so no trans fat and little saturated fat.

- NZ Herald

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