Chewsday Review - Annabel Karmel Little Tasters Spaghetti Bolognese Balls

Annabel Karmel is very popular for her range of ready-made meals and products. For busy parents, convenience is important and for many, worth the extra cost. Let’s see if these Little Tasters Spaghetti Bolognese Balls are worth your cash!

🔹Ingredients

🔸Bolognese Centre [Cooked Spaghetti (26%) (Water, Wheat Semolina), Water, Beef (8%), Tomato Paste, Carrot, Potato Flake, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato Sauce, Canola Oil, Honey, Garlic, Natural Flavour, Parmesan Cheese (Milk), Apple Juice Concentrate, Herbs, Yeast Extract, Natural Colour (160c)], Bread Crumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten), Water, Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Gluten, Thickeners (1422, 1404, 415), Yeast, Mineral Salts (450, 500).

🔸This product is essentially pasta with bolognese sauce, shaped into balls and crumbed. The thickeners help the product stay uniform, and mineral salts are added to reduce spoilage.

🔸Apple juice concentrate, sugar and honey are all types of added sugar.

🔸Honey isn't recommended for babies under 12 months because of the risk of infant botulism. Our food code requires any products with honey as an ingredient to state it has been “sterilised” but I can’t find this statement anywhere.

🔸Allergens: Wheat (Gluten), Milk

🔸May contain: Peanuts, Cashews, Egg, Soy and Fish

🔹Positives

🔸This is a convenient product for when you need something quickly. It takes 9-15 minutes to cook depending on if you use an oven, grill or air fryer.

🔸Total and saturated fat are within guidelines.

🔸Sugar is within guidelines with only 2.6 g per 100 g. I’d expect this from a savoury product, but it does contain several added sugars which seem unnecessary to me.


🔹Negatives

🔸The product states “suitable for children over 10 months (under adult supervision)” but it contains honey, with no indication that the honey has been sterilised… which goes against our food code for infant products! My team contacted Annabel Karmel’s customer care, and they said the honey was "processed" and that the "product has gone through partial heat treatment prior to packaging." They did not respond when asked to clarify if the honey was sterilised, and why this was not indicated on the packaging.

🔸It’s not super high, but sodium is above 100 mg per 100 g, which for a ready-made infant food product also goes against our food code. Two balls is about a third of a baby’s and a tenth of a toddler’s recommended daily sodium limit.

🔸This product is 8% beef, which is similar to other bolognese baby pouches and meals, but really is not a lot. Iron isn’t listed on the nutrition information panel, which tells me there isn’t much in this. If your baby or toddler ate two balls, this is only about 2% of their recommended daily iron intake.

🔸They’re pretty expensive at $5 for a pack of 10! This works out to $16.70 per kg, which is much more than homemade spaghetti Bolognese.


🔹Marketing

🔸“Made with hidden veggies”. Hidden veggies don't necessarily help kids learn about eating vegetables. I want to avoid any tricks to get kids to eat vegetables.

🔸“For self feeding”. Regular spaghetti bolognese (and all foods) also can be offered to your baby or toddler for self-feeding.


🔹Alternatives

🔸This product is a convenient option for babies and toddlers over 12 months. I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this for babies under 12 months, unless the manufacturer confirmed the honey had been sterilised. It also has more sodium than I would like to be a regular option for babies.

🔸Serving your family’s regular spaghetti bolognese (skip the salt for babies under 12 months) and learn to be okay with the mess. If you’re looking for convenience, try freezing portions of your own B\bolognese in advance.

 

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