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2016 Healthy Food Guide Awards

The annual Healthy Food Guide Awards honour the best of healthy food products available across 13 categories in 2016.

Entries for the awards came from a wide range of food companies within the healthy food space. Each of the 13 awards were judged on a combination of factors:

  • Nutrition profile: Our nutritionists examine the nutrition information on each product to make sure they meet HFG nutritional guidelines. We also compare each product to other offerings within its category.
  • Value for money: We compare prices within each category to determine which products offer the best value for money. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is the cheapest product, rather, it is good value, taking all factors into account.
  • Innovation: The X-factor. We ask what is different, unique or creative about this product. What does it offer that others don’t?
  • Taste: Our four judges conduct taste tests of each product to make sure they not only taste good but offer a balanced flavour that has wide appeal. All the winning products taste great!

Meet the judges

  • Rose Carr: HFG senior nutritionist MSc (Hons) (Human nutrition)
  • Brigid Chunn: HFG nutritionist, BSc, PGDipSc (Human nutrition)
  • Niki Bezzant: HFG editor-in-chief
  • Jenny de Montalk: HFG editor

Look out for the award badge (see main picture, above) in the supermarket. Winning products all have the option of including the badge on their product packaging so you can easily identify them. Here are our winners.

Best canned product

Wattie’s Black Beans in Springwater
This product not only looks good, it tastes great. Can be added to hot dishes or salads. High in fibre.

  • Per 108g serve (1/2 can, drained): 705kJ, 11.3g protein, 24.8g carbs, 8g fibre, 140mg sodium, 2.1mg iron
  • 400g can, $1.80

Commended

Ceres Organics Black Beluga Lentils
These lentils are just a little bit different. With a good shape and flavour, they will add interest to any dish. High in fibre: 14g fibre per 1/2-can serve.

Best cereal

Wright Sprouts Organic Raw Energy, Muesli Blackcurrant & Fig
A delicious mix of sprouts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, figs and blackcurrants. We realise it’s not cheap but it was so tasty we couldn’t resist.

  • Per 50g serve: 688kJ, 7.4g protein, 8.5g fat, 0.9g sat fat, 24.3g carbs, 2.9g sugars, fibre n/s, 6mg sodium
  • 460g pouch, $18.95

Commended

Orgran Brekki Hot Cereal Quinoa Porridge
Appetising and nutritious. Very low in sat fat (0.5g per serve) and sugars (1g per serve). Suitable for everyone: gluten free, egg free, dairy free and vegan.

Best dessert / sweet treat

Live Longer Protein Bar, Cacao & Sunflower
This snack bar is novel in that it uses cricket flour. Sweet but with no added sugar. A tasty fruit and nut bar.

  • Per 50g serve: 745kJ, 6.2g protein, 1.1g sat fat, 18g sugars, 6.4g fibre
  • 50g bar, $3.99

Commended

Ceres Organics Cashew Clusters, Salted Caramel
The sweet and salty flavours with the crunch of the nuts make these very moreish.

Best crackers and snacks

Ceres Organics Brown Rice Crackers with Chia
We love these crackers. Good texture and great crunch and a good chip alternative when having dip.

  • Per 12.5g serve (about 7 crackers): 199kJ, 0.2g sat fat, 0.7g fibre, 49mg sodium
  • Per 115g packet, $3.80

Commended

Ceres Organics Roasted Seaweed Nori Snack
Everyone loves this snack, kids and adults alike. Full of iodine and low in sodium.

Best low sugar / no sugar

Barker’s of Geraldine Unsweetened Blackadder Blackcurrant Juice, No Added Sugar
A delicious, tart drink, great either hot or cold. Full of vitamin C.

  • Per 200ml serve (1 part juice to 7 parts water): 123kJ, 3.3g sugars, 60mg vitamin C
  • 710ml bottle, $9.59

Commended

Barker’s of Geraldine Lite Brewed Ginger Beer
A great alternative to ginger beer. Mix with sparkling water and a sprig of mint. The taste of summer! It has 60 per cent less sugar than regular ginger beer.

Best vegetarian / vegan

Bean Supreme Black Eyed Bean Kumara Burger
We love this bean and kumara-based burger patty. High in fibre and great for barbecues.

  • Per 85g serve: 691kJ, 4.8g protein, 1.6g sat fat, 5.4g fibre, 425mg sodium
  • Per 340g pack (4 serves), $8.49

Commended

Bean Supreme Soft Tofu
A delicious versatile product. Use in smoothies, vegetable scrambles, in a stir-fry or combine with the Ceres Organics Coconut Aminos Seasoning and bake.

Best frozen food

Sealord Kaffir Lime & Coconut Crumb
An interesting and delicious alternative to plain crumbed fish. Convenient and an easy way to add more fish into your diet.

  • Per 120g fillet (approx.): 697kJ, 13.2g protein, 6.3g fat, 1g sat fat, 14.1g carbs, 310mg sodium
  • Pack 4 fillets, $10.00

Best dressing

Ceres Organics Coconut Balsamic Dressing
Made from the sap of coconut flowers. This dressing with a hint of sweetness is a fantastic addition to a salad. Low in sodium and kJ.

  • Per 5ml serve; 32kJ, 2mg sodium
  • Per 250ml bottle, $11.20

Commended

Best Foods Mayonnaise with a spark of Chilli
A strong chilli flavour. A reduced-fat mayonnaise with a twist. Low in sat fat and sugars. We love it.

Best condiment

Sambal Of The Gods Gourmet Sambal
This is delicious. Spicy, fresh and versatile. It will perk up any meal.

  • Per 10g serve: 94kJ, 47mg sodium
  • 180g jar, $12.90

Commended

Ceres Organics Paleo Savoury Mix
A great mix of seeds and nuts. The fennel seeds add an aniseed flavour. So versatile, sprinkle on salads, vegetables, spreads or as a topping. Yum!

Ceres Organics Coconut Aminos Seasoning
A soy sauce alternative that is a little different and flavourful, without the high sodium content.

Best ready meal

Tasty Pot Co Meal, NZ Lamb & Quinoa Tagine
An excellent product for when we need a meal in a hurry! Full of goodness with 39 per cent vegetables and 15 per cent quinoa. Serve on a bed of spinach or rocket to boost the vegetable and fibre content even more. Gluten free.

  • Per 350g serve: 1228kJ, 21.6g protein, 6.9g fat, 1.2g sat fat, 32.1g carbs, 6.3g sugars, 7.5g fibre, 724mg sodium
  • 350g pottle, $6.00

Commended

Weight Watcheres Thai Green Chicken Curry
This frozen meal is 340g but delicious with a tasty sauce and 25 per cent vegetables.

Best free from / allergy friendly

King Traditional Soup Mix, Gluten Free Vegetable
This tasty and hearty vegetable soup is a great pantry staple for winter. Use either on its own or add vegetables and/or protein to it. Very economical.

  • Per 26g dry (makes 250ml): 344kJ, 5.5g protein, 2.6g fibre, 302mg sodium
  • 210g packet, $2.90

Commended

Sealord Gluten Free Crumb Hoki Fillets
Whether you are gluten free or not, these are a tasty and quick meal solution.

Most improved product

Barker’s of Geraldine Unsweetened Blackadder Blackcurrant Juice, No Added Sugar
We applaud Barker’s for going ‘unsweetened’ in a category that’s normally high in added sugar.

  • Per 200ml serve (1 part juice to 7 parts water): 123kJ, 3.3g sugars, 60mg vitamin C
  • 710ml bottle, $9.59

Commended

Diamond Wholemeal Spaghetti
This mainstream family brand is accessible to everyone. A tasty, high-fibre pasta that is another pantry staple.

Best new product

Leaderbrand Pure’n Ezy Baby Beets
A product that is just so convenient. No peeling or cooking, simply open the packet and eat, that’s it!

  • Per 125g serve: 323kJ, 17.3g carbs, 14mg sodium
  • 250g pack $4.99

Commended

Taylor Farms Chopped Salads range: Asian Chopped Salad, Southwest Chopped Salad, Kale Chopped Salad
These salads are great. They are a little different and more interesting than the usual salad bags. With tasty condiments and dressings included, they are an easy addition to any meal.

Kids’ lunchbox

Unfortunately, none of the entries met enough of our criteria to win. We hope for better next year!

Beware the ‘health halo’!

Our annual round-up of products featuring misleading front-of-pack or inaccurate health claims, or ones which might not be as healthy as you think!

Studies show that claims such as ‘organic’, ‘no refined sugar’ or ‘natural’ make us assume a food is healthy. But these claims aren’t always what they seem. So, watch out for these ‘health halo’ words, and remember the nutrition information on the back of the pack is a more reliable guide to how healthy a food really is.

  

V8 Juices
300ml Tropical Fusion Fruit & Veggie Juice, “1 serve of veggies, 1 serve of fruit”
300ml Vegetable Juice, “4 serves of veggies”

These will contain many of the nutrients from the vegetables and fruit, but eating whole fruit and vegetables is better for you.

Nice & Natural Fruit Dinos
65% fruit juice
No artificial colours or flavours

What’s not mentioned is the percentage of glucose syrup (another name for sugar) and sugar which our best guess puts at around 30 per cent. This is a sugary confectionery making the most of the heath halo effect.

Bioglan Wholefood Protein Smoothie
A processed powder with an ingredients list that looks like this suspends reality, claiming to be a ‘wholefood’!

Ingredients: Soy Flour, Soy Isolate, Polydextrose, Inulin, Cacao Powder, Xylitol, Flavour, Pea Protein Isolate, Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Selenomethionine, Manganese Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Chromium Chloride, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide), Acai Berry Extract, Sweetener (Steviol Glycosides), Rice Protein Powder, Alfalfa, Barley Grass Powder, Beetroot Powder, Cabbage Powder, Chia Seed, Wolfberry (Goji) Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Folate, Vitamin K, Biotin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12), Spirulina Powder, Wheatgrass Powder, Broccoli Powder, Berry Fruit Blend (Raspberry, Strawberry, Elderberry, Blackberry, Blueberry) Dextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis.

Just Foods Mayonnaise Classic, Gluten Free
“No Added Sugar, Better For You”

We compared this mayonnaise with a standard (Best Foods) mayonnaise. Just Foods has 20 per cent less kJ from the 21 per cent less total fat; similar sugar (virtually none); 35 per cent more saturated fat and 8 per cent less sodium than the Best Foods mayonnaise. Lower kJ is great but unless you eat a lot of mayonnaise the difference won’t have a big impact. Mayonnaise doesn’t often contain added sugar, and in this case it makes very little difference to the overall nutrition. So why say it? Is that a bandwagon we see?

Chantal Organics Rice Syrup
“Natural sweetener”

Despite the ‘sugar-free’ tick on the Chantal website and the sugar alternative claim on the label, rice syrup (or rice malt syrup) contains sugars. Many claim rice malt syrups are low GI but those that have been tested are not low GI.

The World Health Organization recommends we reduce our intake of free sugars, and rice syrup falls squarely into that category.

    

Sweet liquid sucking yoghurt for children

We learned from fruit juice that sweet liquid swishing around the mouth can seriously damage young teeth. Do we need to go there with sweetened yoghurt? If suckies are the only way your child will eat yoghurt, don’t let them linger over it.

First published: Jan 2017



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