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: B&E pie comes with loads of added extras

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Big Ben Smokey Bacon and Egg Pie - $2.19 for 160g

Big Ben Smokey Bacon and Egg Pie - $2.19 for 160g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen
Big Ben Smokey Bacon and Egg Pie - $2.19 for 160g. Photo / Wendyl Nissen

We all love a good pie and supermarket refrigerators offer a range of chilled pies you can keep in the fridge then heat and eat.

But pies aren't all made the same. To keep this particular pie edible in the fridge it requires the addition of preservatives and other additives.


Ingredients (In order of greatest quantity first)

Wheat flour - This will be at the top of the list as it's what the pastry is made from. The rest of the ingredients for the pastry are near the bottom of the list.

Pasteurised scrambled egg 25 per cent (liquid whole egg, water, liquid albumen, corn oil, skim milk powder, salt, acidity regulator 330) - This differs from the scrambled egg you might make at home because it has extra egg whites (liquid albumen), corn oil instead of butter and skim milk powder instead of milk. It also has citric acid (330) added.

Bacon 12 per cent (pork, water, salt, sugar, mineral salts 451, 452, 500, antioxidants 316, 325], sodium nitrate 251) - The label says this contains "real bacon". I'm not sure what unreal bacon looks like but these are all standard ingredients for your lower-grade bacon products. You can actually buy bacon these days which is just made with pork, sea salt and brown sugar, but the bacon used in this pie has diphosphates (451, 452) and baking soda, as well as sodium erythorbate (316), sodium lactate (325) and sodium nitrate (251) which healthy eaters try to avoid.

Cheese 10 per cent (pasteurised milk, salt, cultures, rennet, anti-caking agent 460, preservative 200) - Most cheese has milk, salt, cultures and rennet but not anti-caking agent powdered cellulose (460) and preservative sorbic acid (200).

Water - I'm presuming this is combined with the flour to make the pastry.

Margarine (vegetable oil, water, salt, emulsifiers 471, 322 soy, antioxidants 307, 385, colour 160a, flavour) - Rather than butter to make the pastry, this is margarine which has two emulsifiers (mono and diglycerides of fatty acids 471 and lecithin 322), two antioxidants (tocopherols 307 and calcium disodium EDTA 385). It also has colour and flavour added.

Thickeners (1422, 466) - These are hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (1422) and sodium carboxy methyl cellulose (466).

Onion

Salt - 832mg of sodium per pie.

Non-fat milk solids - This is what is left over when milk is evaporated and will be in the pastry.

Lactose - This is a form of sugar found in milk. Some people are lactose intolerant.

Maltodextrin - Another form of sugar.

Mineral salts (500, 451) - As above

Colour (160b) - This is annatto which is a natural dye made from the seed coating of the tropical Annatto tree.

Pepper

Preservative (223) - This is sodium metabisulphite.


My recommendations

This pie is designed to keep in the fridge and heat when you're hungry for 25 minutes in an oven. In that time I suggest you simply make bacon and eggs with toast and eat some real food instead. You'd still have a bit of time left over for a cup of coffee.

If I were to make a bacon and egg pie I would use eggs, good bacon (Henderson's dry-cured) with just three ingredients, normal cheese which has four ingredients and my own pastry from four ingredients.

Missing would be the 22 additives in this pie as preservatives, colours, flavours, acidity regulators, emulsifiers and mineral salts.


Highlights

• Has 22 additives you wouldn't need to use if you made it yourself.
• Uses colours, flavours and preservatives.
• Could make bacon and eggs instead.


Do you have a food product you would like to feature in Wendyl Wants to Know? Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately, Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.

- NZ Herald

Read Wendyl's columns on other food products here.

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