Supermarket cakes jam-packed with additives

A CHOICE investigation into supermarket cakes has found some contain more than 20 additives, including those used to prolong shelf life or cover up cheaper ingredients.

Of the almost 100 cakes tested, Woolworths Bakehouse Sponge Iced and Fresh-Filled Cream cake was the worst offender with 27 additives. Top Taste Rollettes Choc and Woolworths Bakehouse Sponge Single Birthday Fresh Cream were a close second with 26 additives each.

“Most people wouldn’t use 40 ingredients when baking a cake at home yet that’s what we found in a large number of these cakes, with some of the worst examples containing more than 20 additives,” said CHOICE spokeswoman Elise Davidson.

Food colours are used to enhance a food’s appearance but also enable manufacturers to get away with using cheaper ingredients such as apples instead of raspberries in jam filling and palm oil instead of butter.

More than half the cakes also contained food colours identified as increasing hyperactivity in children in a UK study published in medical journal The Lancet.

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (FSANZ) has said that Australian parents should use labelling information to check for these food colours if they want their children to avoid them.

“Consumers expect the cakes they buy to be fresh and to maintain that freshness, so food manufacturers use additives, but we think consumers should be aware of the type of ingredients that go into a lot of these cakes,” said Ms Davidson.

The study found that price was no indicator of quality with some of the most expensive brands among the heaviest users of additives.

Australians spend $312 million a year buying cakes from supermarkets, which equates to about 70 million cakes.

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Supermarket cakes full of surprises

Many of them are packed with additives, including artificial colours linked to hyperactivity in children. We tell you which brands to avoid.

23 Mar 2009 | Make a cake at home and you'll probably use about six ingredients. Look at the ingredients list on a supermarket cake and you might find 40 or more.


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