Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label says about contents.

This milk chocolate spread leapt out at me from the supermarket shelves simply because it looked so bad for you. Something with bright red and chocolate stripes just screams "artificial everything" to me so I threw it in the trolley (I only throw food which looks bad for you) and brought it triumphantly home. The product is imported from Holland but on closer investigation it wasn't that bad. And it tastes rather good.

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first)
This is a sweet milk chocolate spread so of course there is going to be more sugar in it than anything else. It is 56.6 per cent sugar and one 20g serving will deliver about three teaspoons of sugar.

Vegetable oil
(partially hydrogenated)

"Hydrogenated" means that the oil has been chemically modified to make it more stable and solid at room temperature.


Low-fat cocoa powder (5 per cent)
This will be cocoa powder which has had some of the cocoa butter, which is high in saturated fats, removed. In each 20 serving of this product, you will get 6.6g of fat including 1g of saturated fat.

Whey permeate
This is a waste product of cheese and milk making which has come under the spotlight lately for being added to our milk as a filler, essentially watering down the milk. This may be why it is in this product as well.

Soy powder
This will provide some protein - there is 0.5g of protein per 20g serve of this product, but most likely it is in here as a filler.

This is a sugar found in milk, so will be in here to provide sweetness, but is bad news for the lactose intolerant.

Emulsifier (soy lecithin [322])
This is a natural emulsifier which works to keep oil and water combined in a mixture like this.

Skimmed milk powder
This will be in here as flavour and also as a thickener.

Colouring (red (E120)
Very nice to see this manufacturer using a natural colour. This is cochineal or carmine which is made from insects.

Natural flavouring (strawberry, vanilla)
And wonderful to see natural flavourings used here for the strawberry and vanilla taste. So often food manufacturers use artificial flavourings for both because it is cheaper.

My recommendations: This is mostly sugar but as a treat food at least it doesn't contain too much fat or artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. If your family likes Nutella-type products, this is a nice change.

Those with dairy allergies might want to avoid it as there is some dairy in here, and nutritionally there's not a lot going for it. So definitely something to enjoy occasionally rather than every day.