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

Tatua Dairy Whip

- $5.35 for a 250g can

When my gym trainer suggested I look at this cream in a can, I did a doubletake. For the past eight months, the only thing he has wanted me to look into is the calories in wine and my repeated intake of them.

I was too polite to ask what a fit, young trainer like him would be doing with an explosive can of cream of a weekend but felt encouraged that my oracle of healthy living might just occasionally indulge in some fun.


The idea of putting cream into a can rather than just whipping up some yourself is obviously one of convenience. You can take it on picnics, it doesn't go off and it also has a really cool nozzle which makes the cream come out in a decorative fashion.

It also makes you think that, just possibly, there's no cream in there. When it was first invented in the United States where it was called Cool Whip that was the case. Instead of cream it contained hydrogenated vegetable oil as well as flavours and preservatives. It now contains some dairy and I couldn't find any non-dairy canned cream here.

Cream (76 per cent)

This is quite a high amount of cream, others on the market have less. According to the label the cream is New Zealand produced and is 22 per cent less fat than standard cream. You can also buy lighter versions.

Skim milk powder

This will probably be in here as a thickener or flavour to boost the cream taste.


This cream tastes sweet but is surprising low in sugar at 0.7g per 8g serve.

Propellant (nitrous oxide)

Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, is a non-flammable, not-toxic gas which is used as a propellant for cream. It happily dissolves into the cream but once it leaves the can it becomes gaseous and creates a foam. In this can it can produce 1.4 litres of whipped cream from 250g of cream. Unlike air which is what we introduce to cream when we whip it at home, nitrous oxide will not cause the butterfat in cream to become rancid over time.

However, the whipped effect only lasts for about an hour before it returns to a liquid state so you need to be sure food is served immediately.

The label states there are no fluorocarbons used in the product which is good because they have been phased out due to the negative effects they have on the ozone layer.

Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas and depletes the ozone layer so there are calls to reduce the production of it by humans.

It can be created by fossil fuel combustions, nitrogen-based fertilisers, sewage treatment plants and other industrial processed. It is doubtful that using a can of this cream will have too much effect.

Emulsifier (471)

This is mono and diglycerides of fatty acids which are produced primarily from hydrogenated soya bean oil.


This will be artificial flavouring. You can buy similar products which use natural vanilla flavouring.

Vegetable gums (401,407)

These are sodium alginate (401) which is a salt of alginic acid which is extracted from seaweed and carrageenan (407), a gel obtained from red seaweeds. There are concerns from healthy eaters that carrageenan is an intestinal irritant and the joint Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation expert committee on food additives advises it be kept out of infant formulas.

My recommendations:

As a real food eater I would always recommend that you just get a bottle of cream and whip it up. Simple.

But I can see that people like the convenience of a can of cream and with its fancy nozzle it saves you having to pipe cream through a bag to decorate desserts etc.

Our children used to enjoy spraying cans of this at each other for birthday party treats in which case it's a messy party game worth having.

If, and it's a big if, I was going to buy this to actually eat I would opt for one which declares no artificial flavours and no carrageenan as an option, especially if serving to children.


*22 per cent less fat than cream.

*Artificial flavour and carrageenan which is not recommended for infants.

*Uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a propellant.

On the web:

Read Wendyl's columns on other food products at: http://tiny.cc/01b9u
Do you have a food product you would like to feature?

Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately, Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.