Potato product reviews

Some potato shapes that appeal to kids don’t make the nutritional grade.
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Potatoes being roasted

In brief

  • Frozen mashed potato and roast potatoes come at a premium price and rarely taste as good as the real thing.
  • You can buy healthier chips or wedges but many products, particularly those favoured by kids, are heavy on salt and fat.

Homemade chips, it seems, are a thing of the past. Supermarket freezers not only stock crinkle cut, chunky cut, beer-battered, shoestring and slab-cut chips, but there are wedges, fries and novelty shapes, as well as roasted and mashed potatoes. But what is the true cost of this convenience?

CHOICE found some nutritional improvements since we last looked at frozen potato products in 2003. However, while mashed and roasted potatoes save you time, they rarely live up to the real thing – and you pay a premium for them. And when it comes to novelty shapes, such as potato jewels, pommes and curly fries, which kids like, some are among the least healthy. To see how other children’s foods rate, go to www.choicefoodforkids.com.au.

Some frozen potato products are still kilojoule-laden and salty; it may come as no surprise that hash browns won’t be labelled “healthy” any time soon. And some of the worst offenders are those bite-sized novelty products that are particularly appealing to kids.

Please note: this information was current as of July 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

Less saturated fats

On the upside, saturated fat is now less of an issue, thanks to many manufacturers shifting from using beef fat to the more heart-friendly unsaturated fats. On the whole, when eaten in moderation and teamed with other vegetables, frozen chips can contribute to a nutritious, healthy meal. So it’s handy to have a bag of chips or wedges in the freezer, and there are some reasonably healthy options out there – you just need to be selective.

Brands tested

CHOICE tested 80 varieties of chips, gems, has browns, mash, roast potato and wedges from the following brands:

  • Birds Eye
  • Black & Gold
  • Coles Smart Buy
  • Home Brand
  • Maggi
  • McCain
  • Seasons Pride
  • WeightWatchers
  • Woolworths Select
  • Unger's
  • You'll Love Coles

Please note: this information was current as of July 2009 but is still a useful guide today.



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