“Eat Freely” Campaign…promoting Hot Pockets [Inside the Label]

There’s a massive campaign on billboards, TV and on the web. It’s a freedom movement, a revolution, and it’s inviting youth to join the cause.

The noble and worthy movement is not about minimum wages for tomato farm workers. Nor is it about better growing conditions for poultry. It’s not for local food either.

In fact, it’s not a real movement at all. It’s just a clever ad campaign, encouraging teens to stop eating at the table, and eat freely wherever and whatever they are doing. And what better way to do so than with a hot pocket?

We decided to exercise our freedom and analyze the ingredients and nutritional value of these mini meals. Not that any of said information is available on the eat freely or hotpockets website. Perhaps Nestle, the brand owner, doesn’t want you think that this freedom of information is necessary.

Let’s have a look at Hot Pockets Four Cheese Pizza, shall we?
What you need to know:

The first thing we noticed is the serving size.  It’s just one of the two wedges in the box. In other hot pockets products, the serving size is “half” a pocket. Nice little manufacturer trick to get you to feel less nauseated by the amount of calories, fats and salt in the box.

So if you are like most people, planning to eat the 2 pieces, watch out. The 320 calories per serving you see are actually 640 calories. And the 7g of saturated fat are actually 14 grams or 66% of your recommended daily intake. The product strikes a high note with 760mg of salt per half pocket, or 1520mg (also 66% of the recommended daily value) for a full pocket. On the plus side, a full pocket does provide 60% of the daily calcium intake.

Here is the ingredient list, can anybody read it coherently, let alone understand it?

Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese ([Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Non-Fat Milk, Modified Food Starch [Ingredient Not In Regular Mozzarella Cheese]), Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto), Tomato Paste, Yellow Corn Flour, Provolone Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Non-Fat Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Contains Less than 2% of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Palm Oil (with Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene), Sugar, Imitation Mozzarella Cheese (Water, Palm Oil, Mozzarella Cheese [Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Casein, Food Starch, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid [Preservative], Artificial Color), Seasoning (Salt, Sugar, Spices, Dehydrated Onion, Dehydrated Romano Cheese [Romano Cheese (Made From Cow's Part Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Sodium Phosphates], Dehydrated Garlic, Parsley Flakes), Soybean Oil, Modified Food Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil (with Soy Lecithin, Citric Acid as Preservative), Dried Egg Yolks, Salt, Dough Conditioner (Calcium Sulfate, Salt, Distilled Monoglycerides, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Garlic Powder, Tricalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, BHT), Yeast, Parmesan Cheese (Made From Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Dried Whey, Soy Flour, Dried Egg Whites.

Although the product boasts zero trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils appear twice in the ingredient list. This means that there IS trans fat in hot pockets, albeit less than 1 gram per package, or half a gram per “serving”, entitling the manufacturer to round the value down to zero.

BHT (E321) is usually added to product packaging to maintain freshness. Here it’s mixed in with the food itself. BHT is a problematic additive. Some studies have shown it to cause tumors (others have shown it to reduce the risk of cancer).

Summary – Thankfully you have the freedom to choose NOT to buy or eat this culinary wonder.

Bonus:


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  • Monica

    that’s sad. there’s nothing like sitting down at the table and enjoying every bite, but of something healthier than a hot pocket.