Dec 19, 2018

Parle Nutricrunch Biscuits Review

A few days back, there was a contest hosted in Instagram where many food bloggers were creating "innovative" and "healthy" recipes using Parle biscuits - halwa, burfi, laddoos etc. Why would we want to mess with traditional recipes, I wondered. Most of the biscuits shown in the contest photos were from the newly launched Nutricrunch brand. 

I started reading up about this brand to understand how it is being positioned. Quoting from LiveMint article,


The company’s new brand is focused more on consumers who consciously opt for healthy offerings, rather than those who choose health once in a while because of price-based promotions. Nutricrunch’s range will include products such as digestive cookies, low-sugar cream crackers, digestive Marie biscuits, etc. Some variants will include indigenous ingredients such as jowar. The range will also include products that target lifestyle issues such as weight management, sugar and cholesterol management and nutrient deficiency.

It is clear that the brand wants to be positioned under "health biscuits & cookies" segment. As a conscious consumer, it is our responsibility to examine and evaluate if the brand's offerings are true to this positioning.

Let's talk about 2 products under the Nutricrunch brand in this post.

1.Nutricrunch Digestive


I had earlier analyzed two popular digestive biscuits - McVities and Brittania Nutrichoice Digestive Zero. If you haven't read my analysis, please do check them out.

The front label claims of Nutricrunch Digestive are as follows:
High Fibre, Source of iron, zero cholesterol, vitamins & minerals
Contains Jowar: Rich in antioxidants and Low GI

Now how do we validate these claims? Simply turn to the back of the pack and check the ingredients list and nutrition facts table.


Ingredients:
Wheat flour (40%), Refined palm oil, whole wheat flour (19%), Sugar, Sorghum flour (5%), Wheat bran (4.4%), Wheat fibre (1.2%), Milk solids, Malt extract, Raising agents (503(ii), 500(ii)), Iodised salt, invert sugar syrup, vitamins & minerals (0.2%), emulsifier of vegetable origin (di-acetyl tartaric acid ester of mono and di-glycerides)
Contains Added Flavours (artificial flavoring substances - cereal, milk, vanilla)

1.The very first ingredient is Maida which constitutes 40%. Whole wheat flour is ONLY 19%. Yes, it contains jowar but the percentage is so measly (5%). With 40% maida and 15% sugar, claiming it as "low GI" is the ultimate comedy! There are no regulations in our country and brands can claim whatever they want. It is our responsibility as consumers to ensure that these brands don't do comedy using us (Play that classic vadivelu line in your head)

2.100 gm of these biscuits contain 14.8 gm OR nearly 4 tsp of sugar AND 20 gm OR 5 tsp of unhealthy fats. Though the sugar levels are low compared to Parle-G, the unhealthy fats are quite high.

3.Does the brand really contain high fibre as it claims? Not really. 100 gm of these biscuits contain ONLY 6 gm of dietary fibre. 

4.There are also other unwanted ingredients in the form of raising agents, invert syrup, emulsifier, artificial flavours etc.

As I keep reiterating, digestive biscuits are as unhealthy as a regular Marie biscuit. Why pay a premium to buy the same maida, palm oil and sugar combo?

Let's get to the second product
2.Nutricrunch - Honey and Oats
Ah, if "oats" is mentioned on the pack, namma makkal (our people) would grab it like a superstar FDFS ticket, isn't it? ;-)

Let's see how much "goodness of honey and oats" is actually present in this pack.


Ingredients:
Wheat flour (37.8%), Refined palm oil, whole wheat flour (18.9%), Sugar, Wheat bran (4.9%),
Oats (3.8%), invert sugar syrup, Wheat fibre (1%), Honey (1%), Raising agents (503(ii), 500(ii)), Iodised salt, vitamins & minerals (0.2%), emulsifier of vegetable origin (di-acetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and di-glycerides)
Contains Added Flavours (artificial flavoring substances - cereal, honey, vanilla)

1.Do you see the similarity between the two ingredients lists? Were you able to spot oats and honey in this list? What goodness would you get with such a low percentage - oats 3.8% and honey 1%?  The predominant ingredient is indeed maida (37.8%).

2.The sweetness is NOT from honey as you might have thought, but from sugar and invert sugar syrup. 100 gm of these biscuits contains 18.7gm of sugar (close to 5 tsp of sugar). And let's not forget the unhealthy fats from refined palm oil - 19.2 gm of total fats per 100 gms of biscuits.

3.One might have also thought that this brand might contain high fibre because of oats. No, it contains only 6gm of dietary fibre per 100 gms.

Biscuits are never healthy, irrespective of their name or positioning. Let's stop this habit of having biscuits with tea/coffee.

If you are concerned about your health, stop searching for new products in the supermarket. Get into the habit of cooking at home. Eat wholesome meals, you wouldn't need such unhealthy fillers/snacks to munch on in the first place.

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