Two of our sweet-toothed kids used to devour these in the 90s. They would pop them in the toaster and away they'd go.
Part of me didn't want to pull these off the supermarket shelf and analyse them because of the guilt that I knew I would have to endure.
These are a highly processed product and it took me a long time to decipher every ingredient because the label did not use food number codes and I had never come across some of the additives before.
• Enriched flour — (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamine mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid)
This is flour which has been fortified with vitamins and folic acid. This is part of the reason the packaging can claim "Good source of 7 vitamins and minerals."
• Corn syrup — This is the most common form of sugar used in processed foods in the United States.
• Sugar — These are frighteningly high in sugar. Both toaster pastries come in as one serve on the label which is 96g. You will get 24g or just under six teaspoons of sugar if you eat both.
• Soybean and palm oil — (with TBHQ for freshness) TBHQ or tertiary butylhydroquinone is an antioxidant used to preserve oils. There are many conflicting studies attached to this additive — some claiming it is carcinogenic in high doses and others saying it has the opposite effect.
• Dextrose — This is another form of sugar.
• High Fructose Corn Syrup — Another form of sugar.
• Fructose — More sugar.
• Glycerin — This is a natural substance which acts as a humectant in processed foods which means it helps to keep them moist.
• Polydextrose — Contains 2 per cent or less of polydextrose. Polydextrose is a synthetic soluble fibre which is often added to processed foods to increase the product's fibre. You will get 3g of fibre in this Pop Tart.
• Cocoa (processed with alkali) — Cocoa which is processed with alkali is much less acidic, has a milder flavour and is darker in colour than natural cocoa.
• Modified corn starch — Modified starch is ordinary starch which has been altered chemically to make it more thick or jelly like.
• Salt — There is 380mg of sodium per 96g serve of this product which is quite high.
• Calcium carbonate — This is basically chalk and counts as a mineral.
• Cornstarch — This is the same as cornflour and is probably in here as a thickener.
• Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate) — These additives are in here to help the product rise. Baking soda is a common ingredient, sodium acid pyrophosphate is related to phosphoric acid and monocalcium phosphate is a common leavening product in dough products.
• Mono and diglycerides — These are synthetic fats produced from glycerol, natural fatty acids and other organic acids.
• Hydrogenated palm kernel oil — Hydrogenated means that the oil had been treated with hydrogen gas to be partly solid at room temperature
• Sodium stearoyl lactylate Gelatin — This is a natural substance usually taken from animals which acts as a humectant in processed foods keeping them moist.
• Colour added — Not sure why this is in the ingredients list, as there certainly are colours added but they come later in the list.
• Soy lecithin — This is a natural emulsifier.
• Natural and artificial flavour — Good to see some natural flavour in here but there is also artificial flavours.
• Datem — This is a trade name for an emulsifier derived from tartaric acid and the aforementioned mono and diglycerides. It is mainly used in baking.
• Carnauba wax — This is a natural wax, often used to give a sheen to confectionary products.
• Xanthan gum — A natural gum.
• Vitamin A — This will be added in here for extra nutrition.
• Palmitate — I haven't come across this one before but my research tells me that it is an antioxidant and a vitamin A compound which contains palmitic acid. A World Health Organisation 2003 report on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases found convincing evidence that palmitic acids contribute to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk.
• Niacinamide — This is a form of vitamin B3.
• Yellow 6 lake — This is sunset yellow which uses the food code 110 on our labels. It was included in a voluntary phase-out called for by the UK's Food Standards Agency and an EU-wide health warning must now be put on any food or drink that still contains these colours as they are thought to cause hyperactivity in some children.
The "lake" added to the name means the colour works differently to a dye. It tints by dispersion and a lake colouring is more stable than a dye which means they perform better in products containing fats.
• Blue 2 lake — This is indigotine which uses the food code 132 on our labels and is a blue food colouring. It is also a lake colouring, as above.Caramel colour This doesn't tell us which caramel colour is used 1,11,111 or 1V. One is the safest.
• Reduced iron — This will be added in here for extra nutrition.
• Red 40 lake — This is allura red which used the food code number 129 on our labels. As with sunset yellow this was included in the UK voluntary phase-out and must carry a warning in the EU. It is a lake colouring, as above.
• Yellow 5 lake — This is tartrazine which used the food code number 102 on our labels. This colour was also included in the UK voluntary phase-out and must carry a warning in the EU. It is a lake colouring, as above.
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride) — Added for extra nutrition.
• Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) — Added for extra nutrition.
• Vitamin B1 (thiamine hydrochloride) — Added for extra nutrition.
• Red 40 — This is allura red, as above. It is a dye, not a lake colouring.
• Yellow 5 — This is tartrazine, as above. It is a dye, not a lake colouring.
• Yellow 6 — This is sunset yellow, as above. It is a dye, not a lake colouring.
• Blue 2 — This is indigotine, as above. It is a dye, not a lake colouring.
• Blue 1 — This is brilliant blue which uses the food code number 133 on our labels. It is an artificial flavour which has been the topic of many studies, most recently by the European Food Safety Authority and is currently allowed in foods.
I counted 46 individual ingredients in this product (I didn't count the double-ups but did include each individual colour as lake and dyes are different).
Apart from all the artificial colours which have been voluntarily phased out in the UK and must carry a warning in the EU, the sugar content at just under six teaspoons was enough to encourage people not to buy these for their kids.
When I opened the packet the toaster pastries broke, and smelled terrible. I wasn't about to let anyone in my house eat them so they went in the bin. I am left asking what's wrong with a bit of toast and some good quality peanut butter for a snack?
• A staggering 46 ingredients.
• Uses colours voluntarily phased out in the UK and must carry a warning in the EU.
• Just under six teaspoons of sugar per serve.
Do you have a food product you would like to feature in Wendyl Wants to Know? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions. Unfortunately Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.