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A look at Coop's Vegetarian Range: Karma

Based in Switzerland? I’m sure you’ve noticed a new product range by Coop called Karma. The branding can come across as being a new healthy range loaded with superfoods and ingredients that are meant to nourish your insides, but as always, let’s dig deeper before jumping to conclusions…

Label reading is a skill that I have taught every client that has walked into my practice because you should never be fooled by the marketing and branding of food products. Now I don’t want to sound harsh with regards to Coop’s new product range but I thought I would pick and choose a few products and investigate their nutritional value. Before we start, here are a few of guidelines to note when assessing how healthy a product is:

  • Ingredients that are listed first are present in the largest amounts.

  • Per 100g, choose products that contain a maximum of 15-20g of sugar, preferably 10!
  • Choose products that contain less than 5g per 100g of saturated fat and ideally, total fats should be at 10 or less per 100g. 
  • Aim for 5g or over of fibre per 100g

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-06-05-pmKale Curry Chips

Kale chips have been a massive hit in the health and foodie scene for the past couple of years as a healthier alternative to potato crisps. The Karma kale chips ingredients list includes the following: Kale 37%, water, peanuts, sugar, curry 7% (coriander, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, black pepper, cayenne pepper, spices, herbs, mustard seed), sunflower oil, table vinegar, ginger, iodised salt, thickener (E 410, E 413), natural honey flavour. 

If we had to look at the nutrition information panel (per 100g), it contains 46g of total fats of which 7g are saturated. Now that is A LOT of fat for a “healthy” snack and I wonder where the saturated fats come from since sources include animal fat, palm or coconut oil (neither of which are listed). Verdict? Definitely not an ideal snack for everyday and portion control is advised! 

Crunch It – Dinkel Quinoa Cracker

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-05-26-pmNow I have to say that I’ve tried these and actually thought they were pretty good especially when dipped in either hummus or homemade guac! In terms of ingredients, we’ve got: Wholemeal spelt flour 63%, Sesame and spelt flour 7%, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, puffed quinoa 3%, sea salt, yeast, barley malt extract. That list doesn’t look too bad eh?! With regards to total fats, it provides 15g/100g yet the saturated fat profile is at 2.5g/100g, definitely a thumbs up there. The slightly high fat content is due to the healthy seeds and oils added. As for sugar, it stands at 2.5g per 100g and fibre at 9g. Verdict? A good choice to stock up on in your office if you’re in need of a savoury crunch with healthy dip on the side. 

Coconut Quinoa Granola

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-06-21-pmI’m a massive supporter of making your own granola as the issue lies in all the added sugar and other not so healthy concoctions. By saying that though, picking up a breakfast cereal for convenience is something that we all do! This particular Karma product has been picked up by parents trying to find healthier alternatives for their family assuming that 1) Coconut is a miracle food and we all know where my opinion stands 2) Quinoa and coconut are a great combination (actually, quite true as I love the taste combination). In terms of ingredients, we’ve got: Cereals (oats, barley, 13%), raw cane sugar, coconut flakes 12%, sunflower oil, cereal crisps/flakes (corn, rice, raw sugar, flour [wheat, rye, barley], barley malt, cocoa powder, salt), wheat flour, honey 6%, dietary fibre (FOS), coconut chips 4%, puffed quinoa 3%, sea salt

As you can see, quinoa is present in the least amount! Not that the other cereals aren’t healthy but the branding can be slightly misleading. In terms of nutritional value, it is considered high in total fat (24g), saturated fat (12g) and sugar (25g). Verdict? I would consider this type of cereal a treat rather than an everyday food. They do offer a couple of other choices with a better nutritional profile but your best bet is to go with good ol’ oats and add your own mix such as puffed quinoa, puffed amaranth, chia seeds, mixed nuts and some desiccated coconut for a better, homemade alternative. 

Karma also offers a range of dairy alternatives either made from coconut or almond milk. Now, keeping in mind with those guidelines mentioned earlier, a couple of the almond cream varieties are not too bad and I’m yet to try a couple. However, I am never a fan when the ingredients list contains flavourings, stabilisers, aroma…etc. It just becomes too artificial for my liking! Seeing letters and numbers in the ingredients list is not a welcoming sight if these products are consumed in large quantities on a daily basis. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-14-11-pm screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-25-09-pm
 
If you do have any questions about a certain product, send your comments through! This post was meant to stress on the importance of understanding labels instead of falling for the marketing or branding of food products. Coop’s Karma range does offer both good and not so great options but I’m always curious to know the following – who is involved in product development? How is the nutrition analysis performed as I question the values mentioned on some products? If you have the answers, let us know!

 

2 Comments
  1. Hi Sandra,

    Are you typing from the hospital? Isn’t your baby due any day now??? Would you be interested in us republishing this article on the Girlfriend Guide? It’s really relevant to our readers because it’s so locally focused and really helpful. We would of course have your credit, bio, photo, etc. What do you think?

    Thanks.

    Angelica Cipullo http://www.myGirlfriendGuide.com

    >

    • Hi Angelica,

      Little bub is not due till November so still have a couple of months to go! More than happy for you to republish it as I think it’s essential people learn to be critical of new products on the market especially when they seem healthy.

      Let me know if you need anything else from my side!

      Sandra

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