Sep 19, 2018

Dr Oetker's FunFoods Zero Fat Smokey Pineapple Dressing Review

I always come up with a bunch of blog ideas after a Chennai trip. The reasons are many - 
1) I get to watch TV (and the ads) 
2) I get to read newspaper 
3) I get valuable advice from family elders, who blindly believe whatever junk food brands claim - high calcium / high protein / high fibre and what not.
During the long weekend trip, I stumbled upon this ad of "Dr.Oetker's FunFoods Smokey Pineapple dressing". What grabbed my attention was, you guessed it right, "zero fat". If the brand just says "high taste, taste mein hero, super yum" and similar such phrases, my brain would selectively ignore it but the moment the health buzz words are thrown in, I become alert and watch the ad with interest.

Let's clarify a basic formula. Packaged foods are made addictive due to 3 elements - sugar, salt and oil. If you remove one of the 3 elements, then the brands compensate it by increasing the other 2. Yes, there are other artificial flavor enhancers too, but these 3 elements in various proportions are the key to any junk food formulation.

So now that FunFoods claims "zero fat", obviously they must have increased sugar and salt in their dressing. I wanted to confirm my hypothesis. As I searched for this brand in Big Basket, look what I found in their ingredients list:

So disappointed! This is exactly the reason why we need strong regulations in place where the e-commerce players are forced to list the ingredients of packaged foods. If we shop offline, atleast there is a chance that we might take a look at the pack and might read the details. I know not many of us do that but there is hope.

I then searched in Flipkart and found the details I was looking for.

Ingredients List:
Water, Pineapple (20%), 
Sugar, Liquid Glucose, Iodised Salt, 
Acidity Regulators (INS260, INS296, INS330),
Jaggery, Stabilizers (INS440, INS415),
Mixed Spices, Preservatives (INS211, INS202), Spice Extract

1) There are no fat related ingredients and so it is true about zero fat. But look at the sugar, along with liquid glucose. This dressing contains 19.4 gm of sugar per 100 gm. Pineapple is in itself a sweet tasting fruit, then why do we need 20% sugar?

2) The nutrition table doesn't list the quantity of sodium. It is high time that FSSAI puts forth a regulation to list sodium in ALL packaged foods. It is certainly not optional anymore.

3) It is important that we take a note of the various additives in the form of acidity regulators and stabilizers. One might argue that if we consume them occasionally, it may not be a concern. But these brands want consumers to include such dressings in our meals on a daily basis. They are pitching this dressing to be used NOT just for salads but also as dips or in wraps and subs. The more we consume, the more profits they make. But do we know the long term effects of consuming such additives on a daily basis?

4) The expiry date of this dressing is 6 months from manufacture date. This long shelf life is made feasible because of the preservatives:
INS 211 -  Sodium Benzoate. I wrote about this preservative in detail in my earlier post on Kissan tomato ketchup. Do check it out.
INS 202 - Potassium Sorbate. In a study, potassium sorbate is seen to be genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lymphocytes (white blood cells). In another study, potassium sorbate in combination with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) caused mutagenecity and DNA damaging activity.

Which dubakoor (meaning "fake") doctor comes up with such formulation? Or the Dr in the brand name plays a similar role to that of a doctor coat wearing lady in the ad promoting Pediasure for immunity?

We need to be quite cautious about these new products that are entering Indian supermarket shelves before we embrace them blindly as "cool, hip and modern". We deserve better food, not such chemical loaded dressings that cause DNA damage.


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