Hershey's Nutrageous Chocolate Bars - what's in them?

So take Hershey's Nutrageous. These consist of “Crunchy Peanuts, Peanut butter, Creamy Caramel and Chocolate Flavoured Coating”. There's lots of protein-rich, energising peanuts there, and milk. Plenty to justify the wickedness of a little coating of chocolate.

 
Or, is there?

 
The chocolate may be the last item tacked onto its description of itself, but it's the first item in the ingredients. That's because the bars are 40% chocolate 'coating'. This chocolate flavoured stuff seems to be a radical departure from the traditional confectionary made from sugar, milk, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin and vanilla. The Nutrageous version boasts three or four cheap oils which never came from a cocoa bean, three milk derivatives, salt and artificial flavouring. The sugar and lecithin in it are both derived from GM crops.

 
The peanut butter which traditionally is just ground peanuts but may have salt and some oil added, has acquired three different forms of sugar (all derived from GM crops) plus three antioxidants to preserve it.

 
And the caramel? Surely that's just milk heated gently for a long time under pressure, like we used to make by simmering tins of evapourated milk for hours? Wrong again. Hershey's 'caramel' does have three milk derivatives, but to these have been added four different kinds of sugar (all derived from GM crops) plus oil, salt, artificial flavouring (presumably because it's not actually caramel) and caramel colouring (presumably because it's not actually caramel).

 
Apart from the peanuts, which seem to be just peanuts, the three other components of Nutrageous all contain sugar, and salt. In all there are nine GM ingredients in every bar. If you want to know all the gory details about this thoroughly unnatural 'food', they're spelled out in the Notes below, along with an interesting comparison between the ingredients in a Nutrageous bar and their conventional equivalents. You might conclude from this comparison that, apart from peanuts, anything between 50 and 91 per cent of the ingredients in Hershey's products are quality-disguising substitutes or chemicals.

 
Two other points to ponder:

 
You could make yourself a home-made Nutrageous bar from commonly available ingredients at one-third of the price, and containing 24 fewer highly processed or chemical food-substitutes (or even an 83% organic version for the same price).

 
Outside of supermarkets, Nutrageous is available in a non-GM version. This is presumably specially formulated for the European market where consumers have repeatedly made it clear they don't want GM. The non-GM version may also be aimed at the Brazilian market where it seems Hershey has agreed not to use GM ingredients.

 
OUR COMMENT

 
You might consider asking Sainsbury's and Tesco why they are choosing to stock GM confectionary, against their customers' wishes, when an equivalent non-GM version is available.

 
Tesco customer service is customer.service@tesco.co.uk

 
If you don't get a sensible reply, write to the Chief Executive, Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco, New Tesco House, Delamare Road, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire EN8 9SL.

 
Sainsbury's customer service 'careline' is 0800 636 262.

 
If you don't get a sensible reply, write to the Chief Executive, Justin King, Sainsbury's, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT

 
Note

 
How does Nutrageous compare with conventional products?

 
First, here's a comparison of the total number of ingredients:

 
Conventional vs. Hershey's
  • Chocolate 6-7 vs. 12-13
  • Peanut butter 1-5 vs. 8
  • Caramel 1 vs. 8
  • Total ingredients 8-12 vs. 31-32

 

Here's what goes into conventional ingredients equivalent to those used to make Nutrageous:

 
Milk Chocolate:
  • Green & Blacks organic and Montezuma – sugar, milk, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla
  • Cadbury's - sugar, milk, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, glycerine E442, esters of castor oil fatty acids E476, flavourings
Peanut butter:
  • Meridian organic – peanuts
  • Suma organic – peanuts, salt
  • Whole Earth organic – peanuts, salt, palm oil
  • Sun-Pat – peanuts, sugar, peanut oil, salt, E471
Caramel:
  • Old-fashioned caramel you can make yourself at home - condensed milk, patience
And here's what goes into Nutageous in block capitals exactly as they appear on the wrapper, except at several times the print-size so you won't get eye-strain reading them:

 

 
INGREDIENTS:

 
CHOCOLATE FLAVOURED COATING:

 
SUGAR*

 
VEGETABLE OIL (COCOA BUTTER, PALM, SHEA, SUNFLOWER AND /OR SAFFLOWER OIL)

 
COCOA MASS

 
SKIM MILK POWDER

 
WHEY POWDER

 
MILK FAT

 
EMUSLIFIER (typo is theirs not ours) (SOYA LECITHIN (E322*)

 
SALT

 
VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR

 

 
PEANUTS

 

 
PEANUT BUTTER:

 
PEANUTS

 
SUGAR*

 
DEXTROSE* (glucose)

 
SALT

 
CORN SYRUP*

 
ANTIOXIDANTS – PROPYL GALLATE E310 CITRIC ACID E330 ASCORBYL PALMITATE E304

 

 
CARAMEL:

 
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP*

 
HIGH MALTOSE CORN SYRUP*

 
SORBITOL*

 
SUGAR*

 
PALM KERNEL OIL

 
WHEY POWDER

 
WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE

 
CASEINATE

 
SALT

 
ARTIFICIAL VANILLA FLAVOUR

 
COLOUR (CARAMEL)

 
MONO- AND DI-GLYCERIDES (E471)*contains genetically modified sugar, soya, and corn (printed as shown i.e. attached to the final ingredient and in lower-case, therefore smaller, print size)

 

 
SOURCES
  • Sainsbury's and Tesco, March 2009
  • Tell Hershey's to Kiss GM Sugar Goodbye! Institute for Responsible Technology, and True Food Now!, 2.09.08

2 comments:

  1. I bought a few of these Herschey's Nutrageous bars and a few of Herschey's Reese's Peanut Butter Cups bars a few days ago. I read the labels and noticed immediately "chocolate flavoured coating" I thought "strange". Chocolate flavoured coating? I also read about GM sugar, soya and corn..... and to cut a long story short I have had the "ring of fire"* and the runs* and also seem to be developing piles* since I first bit into this Herschey Frankenstein muck. I have 1 Nutrageous bar and 2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups bars left still unopened and which I shall throw in the garbage where they belong. I would not recommend these Herschey Nutrageous bars or Herschey's Reese's Peanut Butter Cups bars to anyone. They taste decidedly funny and cause side effects*.

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  2. By the way...I am in Northern Ireland (UK). I thought this GM stuff was banned here.


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