Several readers responded to yesterday’s post about Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish crackers, suggesting Annie’s Bunnies as a healthier alternative. We decided to take a look. Annie’s products are all sweetened crackers, so we chose to compare the 2 most similar products – chocolate graham crackers.
Here’s what’s Annie’s has to say about their Chocolate Bunny Grahams:
Excellent Source of Calcium
No Saturated Fat
Whole Grain – 8g or more per serving
Made with Organic Wheat
Goldfish boasts a shorter list:
Made with whole grain.
No artificial flavors or preservatives.
What you need to know:
These are sweet snacks, more like cookies than crackers. If you prefer a low sugar snack, go for the original baked Goldfish (only 1 gram of sugar – quarter teaspoon). Annie’s does not have a comparable product.
Before we begin: A 1 ounce serving of Goldfish is 25 cents. A one ounce serving of bunnies is 62 cents!
ORGANIC WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, EXPELLER PRESSED VEGETABLE OIL (SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER), ORGANIC CANE SYRUP, ORGANIC GRAHAM FLOUR, NATURAL AND ALKALIZED COCOA, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SEA SALT, BAKING SODA, NATURAL VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE FLAVOR.
Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Interesterified and Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Hydrogenated Cottonseed), Nonfat Milk, Cocoa Processed with Alkali (Dutched), Invert Sugar, Semi Sweet Chocolate Powder (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Dextrose), Contains 2 Percent or Less of: Leavening [Baking Soda, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Monocalcium Phosphate)], Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Natural Flavor and Soy Lecithin.
The lists are somewhat similar in the main components – wheat, sugar, chocolate. Annie’s includes organic versions of wheat and sugar. If you’re an organic aficionado, go for it. For many people the price difference in this case makes no sense. It’s not like buying organic strawberries without pesticides. Choose your battles…
Annie’s is vegan, forgoing milk, whereas Goldfish does use some. The milk adds 2 grams of saturated fat per serving (10% of the daily max).
Both brands boast whole wheat, but both are not 100% whole wheat. Both state refined wheat as the second ingredient.
The two ingredient lists do show a difference in approach to food processing. Annie’s uses ingredients as if a person would be baking the cracker at home. But Goldfish is much more industrial – hydrogenated oils (NOT partially hydrogenated, we hope), corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, and mysterious natural flavors.
Despite this, the nutrition facts panel on both products is similar. Approximately 140 calories per serving for both. Bunnies have 2 tsp of sugar per serving with 1 gram of fiber, whereas goldfish have 2.5 tsp of sugar with 2 grams of fiber .
The calcium in the bunnies is added as an ingredient, not inherently present in one of the core ingredients (wheat, chocolate), so by our book Annie’s is playing a marketing game to promote a sugary snack as an “excellent source of calcium”. Tsk, tsk, aren’t the organic brands held to higher ethical standards?
On the sodium front, the bunnies have 90 mg or 4% of the daily maximum. Goldfish have twice that number. Not great, but not a huge number.
Summary: Overall, Annie’s is less processed and has better nutrition. But the difference between these two is not that concerning, as there are far worse options than either of these two.
What to do at the supermarket:
The plain goldfish has less sugar than both aforementioned snacks, and would be a better choice. If you are looking at other cracker options, think about the whole wheat options and check their fiber content. Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils. Look for low sodium too, as many crackers pack in a lot of salt.