Christmas is fast approaching, and many of us can’t imagine the holiday without chocolate. We might buy chocolate for ourselves or for our children and loved ones, because it always makes the perfect addition to Christmas gifts. We’re not going to convince you not to buy chocolate, because we believe that everything is okay when consumed in certain amounts. So instead, we decided to make an overview of Christmas chocolates to lessen the time you spend Christmas shopping.
Our list includes 10 different types of chocolate products. You’ll find Santas, teddy bears, reindeer and chocolate coins. Some of them are manufactured by popular brands while others are homebrands of chains like Coles or Woolworths. Will there be any products worth our recommendation amongst the list? Let’s check it out.
Let’s face it, we’ll never find an ideal chocolate product that has high quality ingredients, low sugar and fat, and no food additives. What we can do is divide chocolates into which has a better and worse composition and follow this criteria when shopping. When making these choices, you have to turn a blind eye to many ingredients – such as powdered milk or sugar – and avoid others.
What ingredients should you avoid in chocolate products?
- Emulsifiers (476). This ingredient is polyglycerol polyricinoleate. It is added to accelerate and facilitate the production of chocolate. It is approved as safe in certain amounts, however, frequent consumption is discouraged as it may cause allergies in some people. Most often it is combined with soy lecithin, which is another emulsifier. While the addition of soy lecithin is understandable, since it is added to almost all chocolates, the addition of 476 as a second emulsifier seems unnecessary.
- Emulsifier (492). This is sorbitan tristearate, which is used in chocolate to prevent fat bloom and maintain colour and shine. As in the case of the emulsifier (476), it is combined with soy lecithin. There is no need to add two emulsifiers to chocolate products.
- Glucose-fructose syrup. This is a concentrated solution of sugars – glucose and fructose. Its consumption increases the risk of weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Of the two bad things, it’s better to choose sugar.
- Any fats other than cocoa. Cocoa butter is one of the most important ingredients in chocolate because of its special flavour. However, it is the most expensive option and producers often replace it with cheaper ingredients, e.g. palm, which is usually in a hardened form and contains trans fats which are harmful to the body. If labels don’t mention the name of the oil but use the phrase “vegetable oil/fat” then that’s also a sign to avoid the product. It means that the manufacturer is saving money and has something to hide, so they’ve chosen not to specify the type of oil used.
In addition to the above-mentioned ingredients, you should also avoid other food additives like artificial colours and raising agents. We marked all unnecessary ingredients in yellow. Products that contained just one of these ingredients were given a neutral rating, and those with more than one were given a negative rating. Other products that received the positive assessment (green face) had the best composition of those analysed. This does not mean that we recommend these products, however. All of the chocolates we analysed contained large amounts of sugar and fat, so consumption should be limited, especially by children.
None of the analysed products deserved our recommendation. We don’t approve of buying chocolates, but they won’t hurt from time to time if you know how to choose the right one. Remember:
- The shorter the composition, the better.
- Read the ingredients and avoid those that should be avoided in chocolate products (see composition analysis).
- If the manufacturer does not specify the exact ingredient but uses a broader term, e.g. vegetable oil/fat instead of naming which vegetable was used, then it’s better to leave this product on the store shelf.
- Price does not prove the quality of a product. Lesser known brands often have a better composition than those of more famous ones. Also have a read – Why You Should Read Food Labels.
If you don’t know whether a given product has a good composition or not, or you want us to analyse it, contact us 🙂Christmas Chocolates Comparison checklabels.com.au
The Christmas Chocolates that we have looked at:
- Coles Santa Chocolate
- Kinder Chocolate Santa With Surprise
- Kinder Chocolate Mini Santa 3 pack
- Kit Kat Santa Chocolate
- Nestle Smarties Santa
- Cadbury Dairy Milk Christmas Friends Milk Chocolate 5 pack
- Lindt Mini Teddy Bear Pouch Bag Chocolates
- Lindt Santa Boot
- Woolworths Santa Chocolate Coins 150g
- Coles Xmas Chocolate Pops