Wendyl Wants to Know: This cheesy snack could prove a good choice
Grain Waves Golden Cheddar
$2.95 for 6 packs of 18g each
I've had a lot of emails requesting I look at these lately, probably because of these new packs of six which have just hit the supermarkets.
As snack foods go they are preferable to potato chips because they are made of grains not potato which means you get wholegrains with your salt and flavourings.
I chose to analyse the cheddar flavour because, as I discovered when I analysed Twisties a while ago, cheddar flavouring is mostly sourced from milk solids so you are reducing the likelihood that the added flavour has come from a chemical cocktail.
Let's see what is in these.
Cereals (62 per cent)
[Wholegrain cereals (56 per cent)[Corn, Wheat, Oat], Rice flour, Barley flour]
What all this means is that in each of these 18g bags 56 per cent will be wholegrain corn, wheat and oats and 6 per cent will be rice and barley flour. This is pretty good for a snack food but you have to eat 2.2 bags to get to the 40g serve quoted on the bag as providing of the suggested daily target of wholegrains. The suggested daily target of wholegrains of 48g is recommended by an independent industry group called Go Grains Health & Nutrition Ltd.
So while munching down a third of this you are also taking in 746 kJ of energy and just over 9g of fat.
This oil is high in Vitamin E and low in saturated fat, which will be why this product can say on its packaging that it has "70 per cent less saturated fat than leading brands of ready-salted potato chips".
This is a natural ingredient from the root of the casava plant and is most likely in here as a thickener.
This is a sugar which is taken from a starch.
Cheese powder (milk)
This is cheese which has been processed into a powder. There is no legal requirement to list any additives which go into the process of changing cheese into a powder so it could contain other ingredients natural or artificial without us knowing about it. My research found many different processes but all had added ingredients.
This is another name for glucose and acts as a sweetener.
These are proteins and carbohydrates found in milk after evaporation. They are often used in cheese-flavoured products for flavouring.
Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (Soy)
It seems like just about every processed food I analyse has some of this stuff in it whether it is in the food as a filler, a protein source or most likely in this case as a flavour enhancer. It is created when soy is boiled in acid and then broken down with sodium hydroxide to release the protein.
This is similar to Marmite and will most likely be in here for flavour.
Onion dried and processed into a powder, this will be in here for flavouring.
Flavours (wheat, milk)
The packaging does not announce that there is no artificial flavouring in here so the assumption would be that it is, but the fact that they are crediting wheat and milk as the source makes me think that perhaps it is natural.
This will be pepper or nutmeg or something to flavour the product.
Food Acids (270, 327)
These are lactic acid (270) which occurs in almost all living organisms and is probably in here to add a tart flavour. And calcium lactate (327) which is a salt often found in aged cheese and is probably here as a preservative.
Garlic dried and powdered and in here as a flavouring.
Very low down on the list so not a lot in here.
Not sure what this oil is but as sunflower is listed as the main ingredient there isn't a lot in here.
The packaging does play a trick on the consumer by claiming that one serve provides of the suggested daily target of wholegrains, when you actually have to eat 2.2 of the servings in this package to achieve that.
Unlike Twisties it doesn't have MSG or TBHQ (a preservative) which healthy eaters like to avoid. So if you're going for a cheese-flavoured snack, this is a good choice.
However, this product does have 17 ingredients (I'm counting all the cereals as one).
So if you're going for fewer ingredients and more real food, ready-salted unflavoured potato chips (in the red packets) will give you just three ingredients - potatoes, oil and salt - but you will also have more saturated fat to contend with.
* An impressive amount of wholegrains but you do have to eat 2.2 packets.
* Cheese flavour sourced mainly from milk solids which is better than chemical cocktails.
* Low in saturated fat.
* As snack foods go they are preferable to potato chips because they are made of grains.