It is important to keep checking your labels, even with your most trusted additive free brands.  I routinely check the labels, however, even I have been caught out recently.

We are currently travelling around Australia. It is a fantastic experience for family. However, one thing that has dawned on me, is that despite having so much more time and being on holiday, I actually feel that I have a lot less time than usual.

How does this make sense?

Well, our days area pretty jam packed, we usually set off early in the morning to do the activities that are best undertaken in the cool of the morning.

At the Top End it is warm, very warm. We averaged 31-33 degrees each day.

Hiking with 5 boys, you don’t want to be hiking in the heat of the day. We did one small hike like this and we learned pretty quickly that keeping 5 boys motivated and enjoying a walk is hard work!


Being on the road I don’t have access to all my usual independent grocers, additive free brands, organic fruit and veg and the like.

At home, normally I shop very little at Woollies and Coles, I am finding that whilst on the road, especially the northern part of Western Australian and the Northern Territory, that if I would like fresh produce, and organic then these are my best options.

The last shop I did, I was a little rushed, I also had three kids in tow.

I wanted to buy a snack that I didn’t have to prepare that would last a little while (but preservative free).

There was a huge range of muesli bars!

Moving around the country I have noticed that there is a lot of new brands that I am unfamiliar with.  it’s amazing how you become reliant on your trusted additive free brands. It really has brought me back to the beginning of my journey.

Remembering how those initial shops take that bit longer as you read all the labels.

I spent some time looking at the ingredients of all these muesli bars.

It was overwhelming seeing all the options in front of me, many of them unfamiliar to me.

It felt like I went through each of them, picking them up and returning them, all failing the additive free check.

Ruunning out of time,I stopped analysing any further and just chose an old trusted additive free brand – Carmans..

I have trusted Carman’s for quite some time. I threw it in the shopping trolley and didn’t think about it further.



So, the morning that we set off for Kakadu, I packed our lunch, fresh fruit, trail mix and these muesli bars. We had set off later than we were hoping and kids started with the hunger cries. I pulled out the Carman’s Gourmet Protein Bars – Greek Style yoghurt and berry.

I was really confused as I was eating these, they tasted artificial. How could that be?

This is a Carman’s muesli bar! One of my most favourite additive free brands. I trust Carman’s!!

Carman’s markets its food as ‘“real food made with real passion”.

I can tell you that this didn’t taste like real food.

Perhaps if you are used to eating processed options you wouldn’t notice anything. However, when you eat real food all the time, you can taste if something is artificial.

This prompted me to double check the ingredients. Then it dawned on me. I had forgotten to check the ingredients in the supermarket!!

Truth be told I indiscriminately just chose a Carman’s bar and didn’t even realise which one I had selected.

I was VERY surprised to read the ingredient list!

Nuts (peanuts, almonds) 26%

Soy protein blend 19% (soy protein crisps (isolated soy protein, tapioca starch, salt) Soy protein powder (soy lecithin)


Seeds 12%


Yoghurt compound (sugar, vegetable oil, yoghurt powder, natural Greek yoghurt flavour, milk solids, emulsifier (soy lecithin)

Food acid 330

Cranberries 5%

Currants 2%

Sunflower oil

Natural berry flavour

Natural vanilla flavour


There are so many ingredients that I avoid and here they are in this bar!

This bar that I have now just fed to my children, we are now sitting in a confined space, travelling for three hours together. Thanks Carman’s!

The back of the packet states:

“For over 20 years now, we’ve believed in the same philosophy: real food made with real passion! For us it means: food should come from the kitchen, not the chemist. “

I encourage you to consider how many of these ingredients you have in your kitchen?

Ingredients that I do have in my kitchen:



Sunflower oil (on occasion)





Ingredients I do not have in my kitchen

Natural berry flavour = no, I have real berries.

Natural vanilla flavour = no. I have real vanilla bean that has been ground up

Isolated soy protein = no way.

For those that don’t know Isolated Soy Protein is another ingredient that always contains processed free glutamic acid.  Free glutamic acid has the same effects as MSG.  It is a labelling loophole that manufacturers love to take advantage of.

What side effects can result from free glutamic acid?

Allergic reactions

Behavioural problems


Heart palpitations

Breathing issues (asthmatics should avoid)



Sleeping issues

So why has Carman’s included these ingredients in its products?

I haven’t asked them yet, I can only hypothesise.

By putting these ingredients in the bars, they make them taste better so that consumers will want to buy more of them. Including ingredients such as these would be cheaper to use than the real ingredients. Given these ingredients are cheaper there could be an opportunity to increase profits.

I will be asking Carman’s where they sourced these ingredients from.

My previous experience with other manufacturers tells me that these flavours have been purchased from other manufacturers and suppliers.  I hope that this isn’t the case with Carman’s and they have been produced in their own commercial kitchens.

Everytime I have ever requested information from a manufacturer regarding how these flavours are derived,  I have been told that is intellectual property and they are unable to divulge.

Hmm….but Carman’s have said that they aren’t produced in a chemist?

I hope that Carman’s will be able to shed some light on this.

What I do know, and have seen so many times is that well meaning manufacturers start off with fantastic products and somewhere along the way, something changes.  I don’t know if they ride on the coat tails of their reputation and feel that they can drop their standards or perhaps they just don’t know what they are putting in their food?

I would be more than happy to assist any manufacturers that aren’t sure, to ensure that their brands remain trusted in the eyes of the consumers that are seeking additive free options.

So, in conclusion, I implore you to check every product that you buy – even from your most trusted additive free brands!

You can’t rely on particular brands to be solely additive free 100% of the time, there are some, but not enough.

I commend Carman’s for having some additive free options.

I would love to see Carman’s raise the bar and be a leader in its field and produce 100% additive free products across its whole range.

Would you love to hear more additive free tips?

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I look forward to chatting with you there ????

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