More Packaging Oddities

Ainsley's Couscous - see the calories?
Ainsley's Couscous - see the calories?

Mum suggested trying some Couscous with dinner one night after Molly had given it to her. I’d eaten couscous before but thought I’d try it anyway. So, dutiful son that I am, I was wandering around Woolworth’s and checking the couscous and I thought “Ainsley Harriott’s couscous will do”. I bought some and used it with dinner last night. As the couscous was flavoured in a Mediterranean style I thought I would have it with lamb chops. I prepared dinner.

Whilst waiting for things to cook and the water to boil to prepare the couscous, I was reading the back of the packet. I read the instructions for preparation and had some time to kill so I was reading the nutrition information. Now this packet was different to many others in that it contained the nutrition information for both the United Kingdom and Australia. Neat. Checked the one against the other … Sodium, Aussie, 304mg, UK, o.3g … Dietary Fiber, Aussie, 3.1g, UK 3.1g … so far so good.

Then I got to Energy. Australia (per 100g) 597kJ, UK (per 100g) 579kJ. OK, so we have some dyslexia at work here do we? Nope. Checked the calories – 143 against 137. Even the Ave Quantity per serving (and there are two servings in the packet for both Australia and the UK) – 836kJ against 811kJ. Both the Australian and the UK nutrition information note that the information is based on the food being ‘prepared as per instructions without butter or oil’.

Seems then that I have found the reason Aussies are bigger than the English – there are more calories in our Aussie foods than English foods 😆

Standard Serving Sizes

As I am doing pretty much all of the cooking at home at the moment (some outstanding successes, some outstanding failures but mostly edible), I do most of the grocery shopping as well. This entails wandering around the supermarket and selecting the food for the coming week.

The selection process consists of checking the package for breakages, reading the information about the food on the label, checking the cooking information and so on. The food information is sometimes the most confusing and interesting. For example, I read the label on a normal and a diet product, and see that the diet product has less fat, but more sugar than the normal product. OK. I’ll play that game – what is more damaging if you are trying to lose weight, sugar or fat?

However, the best label I have come across so far is the one illustrated. I was looking at hot dogs (footy franks, frankfurts) for something different for lunch tomorrow and came across these. Everything was proceeding well and the food information all seemed OK until I noticed that the information provided totals for the entire package, and then totals for a standard serve of the item. So far so good. It all seemed good for the hot dogs, fat levels not too high, carbohydrates OK and so on. Then I noticed that the packet told me on the food information that it (the packet) contained 12 standard servings. Of course, this is what the food information is presumably based on.

The problem with all this? There are only 9 hot dogs in the packet!

So, do we cut one quarter of each hot dog off before eating and then join those quarters together with some magical food adhesive to make the missing 3 hot dogs?

Perhaps it is best to just accept the fact that no matter what the label says, hot dogs are not healthy even though they taste good. Now, where’s the mustard and sauce?