Chewsday Review- Infuzions Veggie Straws

Why does every snack food claim to be a vegetable? It’s getting outrageous. Anyway, lots of requests for these Infuzions veggie straws. Here’s my thoughts on the Veggie Straws in a sour cream and herb flavour.

🔶Ingredients:

🔹Vegetable (71%) (including potato, spinach powder, tomato powder, beetroot powder, salt, beta carotene), sunflower and/or canola oil, seasoning (milk solids, sugar, maltodextrin, vegetable powder, salt, yeast extract, cheese powder, flavour, sour cream powder, herb, acidity regulator (330, 270, 327), anti-caking agent (551), vegetable oil)

🔹The long list of ingredients makes me suspicious, as does the way they’ve set it out. By listing ‘vegetables’ together as 70%, you can’t tell how much comes from potato and how much comes from the veggie powders. I’m guessing 69% is just potato.

🔹They’ve also been sneaky here by including the veggie straws as an ingredient on its own (which means they can list salt twice) because there’s the salt that comes from making the straws, then the salt that’s added afterwards. This makes me super suspicious when companies go to great pains to confuse you in the ingredients list.

🔹Acidity regulators 330 (citric acid), 270 (lactic acid) and 327 (calcium lactate) help prolong shelf life and are well tolerated.

🔹Anti-caking agent 551 (silicon dioxide) sounds scary, but there are no adverse effects in food and it’s just used to stop the flavouring from clumping together.

🔹Common allergens include: milk, soy. May contain gluten, sulphites, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame.

🔶The positives:

🔹Contains a tiny amount of fibre (I’m stretching the positive list here- it’s not really a reasonable amount). A 15g serving provides enough fibre to meet 4% of a toddler's daily fibre requirements and 2.5% of a preschoolers daily fibre requirements. This is much less than a 20g serving of actual veggies!!

🔹Saturated fat content meets healthy guidelines, although it’s definitely creeping up to the upper limit.

🔹Sugar content is 5.1g/100g which is within guidelines but is much higher than most savoury snack foods.

🔶The negatives:

🔹Total fat is more than double the recommended guidelines at 22.6g/100g. This is about two thirds of fat content of potato chips.

🔹Sodium (salt) content significantly exceeds nutritional guidelines of less than 420mg/100g at 785mg. This is a lot more than the sodium content of Red Rock and Smith's potato chips.

🔹These are about the same price as potato chips at about $32 per kilo.

🔶The marketing:

🔹”Light and flavourful” Remember what I’ve said about ‘light’ before? In Australia, the word LIGHT has no defined meaning on food packaging. You could put the word LIGHT or LITE on a packet to mean less fat, but it could also refer to the weight of the product (it’s a ‘light’ packet’), the flavour of the product (just a ‘light’ flavour) or even the colour of the product (it’s ‘light’ brown)! It doesn’t mean less kilojoules.This claim is often a bit misleading on packets. In this case, the total fat content is reasonably high, so this is deceptive.

🔹Less than 100 calories per serve. Whoppdeedoo. In 15g of straws (like literally a tiny handful) this means nothing. Most chips will be less than or about equal to 100 calories in a small serve. This does not make them a nutritious or low calorie food. It just means you can’t eat many of them before reaching this number. This obviously isn’t our main focus for kids food.

🔹”No artificial flavours”. Realistically, most products are free from these nowadays.

🔶The alternatives:

🔹These Veggie Infuzions chips are nutritionally similar to regular potato chips. They’ve got a bit less total fat, but a lot more salt. And they’re definitely not infused with veggies. So, don't be fooled into thinking you're having a healthier chip, because you're most definitely not!

🔹If you like these chips, know that they’re not a magical food and just don’t eat them regularly. If you're using these to dip, I'd suggest the low or no salt rice crackers, or rice/corn cakes instead.

About Mealtime Building Blocks

Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page. You can also email them.

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