I do love it when I'm shopping for something to include in this column and a reader offers to help me out.
My husband, who has a hatred of brown rice, picked these off the shelf as something which looked very healthy - "but it probably isn't."
At that moment a woman next to me said she had bought them and they "tasted like s***"
"Oh really?" I said.
"I'd love to read what you say about them in your column," she said. And so into the trolley they went.
These are part of the new trend of foods which give comfort to healthy eaters with their claims of "no artificial nasties", being "gluten, wheat and dairy free", and are organic. They also have a detailed history on the back of the box which tells how the creators made them when one of their children developed severe allergies.
• Organic crisp wholegrain brown rice (35%) - So this would be brown rice which has been puffed, as in puffed rice crispies.
Brown rice is better for you because it still has its brown husk which contains a lot of nutrition. White rice has had this removed.
• Organic rice syrup - This is a nice name for sugar. It comes from rice but it is still a sugar.
• Organic invert syrup - This is sugar which has been treated to split into glucose and fructose which is sweeter than sugar and when used in processed foods remains more moist and less prone to crystallisation.
• Organic sugar - This sugar is grown organically without synthetic herbicides or pesticides but that doesn't mean the sugar is any better for you. It is sugar, but grown in a better, more environmentally friendly way which is worth supporting.
The sugar content of these bars is 4.8g per 22g bar which is just over a teaspoon or 21.8 per cent of the bar.
• Organic sustainable palm oil - Those people who avoid palm oil because its production is threatening wildlife habitats can rest easy that this palm oil is from sustainable palms which are also grown organically.
• Organic cocoa powder (3%) - I am not an expert on how cocoa powder is made but I would think that like the organic sugar this is grown organically. Raw cocoa has much more nutritional value than the common processed cocoa but I'm not sure if this is raw.
• Organic vegetable humectant (glycerin) - This is glycerine which is commonly made from animals but in this case has been sourced from vegetables, which will be good for vegetarians to know. Glycerin acts as a humectant in processed foods to keep them moist.
• Organic agave inulin - Inulin is known as "faux fibre" because it is a substance that occurs naturally in root vegetables, particularly chicory. But it's not fibre as you would find it if you ate a piece of fruit or a vegetable. Many food producers put it in their products to beef up the fibre content. In this case you will get 1.1g of fibre per 22g bar.
• Organic vanilla flavour - Nice to see real vanilla flavour in here as much of the vanilla we get in processed foods is synthetic.
• Organic chocolate flavour - Not sure what this flavour would be, normally the cocoa would take care of any chocolate flavour. But as it is organic, it means it must be natural.
• Organic sunflower oil [rosemary extract, antioxidant (mixed tocopherols concentrate)] - This is a tiny amount of oil which has been preserved with rosemary extract and tocopherols which are both natural compounds. This bar is low-fat with just 2g of fat per 22g bar.
• Sea salt - A tiny bit of salt here at just 23mg of sodium per 22g bar.
I have to disagree with my supermarket helper because these bars taste okay and my 16-year-old daughter agreed with me.
They do include sugar but at just over 1 tsp per bar that is okay, and they are also low in fat and reasonably good in fibre. They are also low in kilojoules at 374kj or 90 calories per bar.
But they are expensive. They work out at $1.39 a bar compared to other comparable bars on the market which cost a lot less. What you are paying for is the organic ingredients which cost more to produce.
So, if you can afford it, and your child will eat it with its lower sugar levels, go for it.
A good guide to follow when looking for snack bars is to find one with less than 2g saturated fat, less than 10g sugar, more than 1.5g fibre and less than 600kj per bar.