Spinach and ricotta flavour doesn’t give meat-shunning buyers a hint of animal ingredient within

This dip was mentioned to me by a friend who had bought it thinking it was vegetarian, which is fair enough. The title certainly sounds like it's full of spinach and cheese but hidden in the ingredients is gelatine, which of course is sourced from beef. It's halal gelatine, though, so that's good for Muslims, but not so good for vegetarians.

Ingredients

Sour cream (44%) - [Non-fat milk solids, modified starch, halal gelatine (from beef) culture.] — This surprised me as I wasn't aware that sour cream had gelatine in it. I had presumed that it was cream which had been ... well ... soured. Instead, there is modified starch and gelatine added. Gelatine is used in food as a gelling agent and it is usually made from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones, most commonly pork. Halal means lawful in Arabic and is a food code by which Muslims live which bans the eating of pork and says that cattle should be slaughtered following certain rituals. This gelatine can be consumed by Muslims. But not vegetarians, who may have bought this product assuming it was meat-free.

Water

Canola oil — This will be in here most likely for texture. This is a reasonably high-fat product at 26.1 per cent or 5.2g per 20g serve.

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Spinach (6%) — At 6% there's not a great deal of spinach in here. In the whole 200g tub there will be 12g.

Ricotta cheese (4.9%) — Per 200g tub you will get 9.8g of ricotta cheese which is about 2.3 teaspoons.

Lemon juice — This will most likely be in here for flavouring.

White vinegar — This might be in for flavour but also as a preservative.

Maize thickener (1442) — This is hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate which is a treated starch.

Salt — Not too much at 110mg per 20g serve.

Sugar — Not too much sugar at just 0.5g per 20g serve.

Garlic

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Stabiliser (412) — This is guar gum which is a natural gum extracted from seeds.

Mustard

Spice

Preservative (202) — This is potassium sorbate.

Food acid (330) — This is citric acid.

My recommendations

If you're going to have a dip and you're a vegetarian then you're probably best to go for something cream cheese-based which doesn't have gelatine as one of its ingredients. (When I reviewed cream cheese recently I found the Philadelphia brand to be the best.)