Additive Free Kids reviews Arnott's Light & Crispy

Has anyone seen the new Arnott’s Light and Crispy Shapes?

The marketing spiel

“Shapes Light & Crispy are a brand new snack from Arnott’s Shapes – they have the Shapes flavour hit you love, now on a lighter, crispier biscuit that you can feel good about. These moreish little morsels contain 75% less saturated fat than chips* and no artificial colours or flavours; it’s the flavour hit that even your conscience will love!

Shapes Light & Crispy are available in four flavours so there’s something for everyone! You’ll find Shapes Light & Crispy in the biscuit aisle of your local supermarket.”

The marketing tag behind these light and crispy shapes are “Even your conscience will love them“.  I was intrigued, perhaps Arnott’s was keen to create products for the new health conscious generation.  Arnott’s proudly states that they have reduced the saturated fat content by 75%.  How did they fare with the harmful food additives? I asked them via Facebook on one of their recent promotional posts.  This was their response:

AFK reviews light&crispy

“Hey Francine, thanks for getting in touch.  Our Light & Crispy Shapes are free of any flavours or colours from artificial sources.  This means none of the Light and Crispy flavours contain added MSG.  If MSG is used it must always be listed in the ingredient listing under E621. PM us which flavour you would like an ingredients list for an we will send it through! :)”

Just because food additives may be derived from natural sources doesn’t mean that they are safer than artificial additives.  I needed to check the ingredients listing for myself!

The ingredients

I was able to see three out of four of the light and crispy range, and the ingredients are listed below:

Sweet chilli and sour cream (at least 29 ingredients)

Screenshot 2015-05-12 13.59.32

Wheat flour, Vegetable oil, Vegetables (Dehydrated potatoes, red bell pepper, tomato powder, onion powder), cornflour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk solids, food acids (E262, E327, E270, E330), Maltodextrin (Maize), Spices (Chilli powder, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper), Flavour (Natural, contains soy), yeast extract, sour cream powder (milk), baking powder, emulsifiers (soy lecithin), flavour enhancer (E635), Food colours (paprika extract, carmine), antioxidants (E307b from soy, E304).

Balsamic vinegar and sea salt (at least 21 ingredients)

AFK reviews Light & Crispy

Wheat flour, vegetable oil, vegetables (dehydrated potatoes, onion powder), cornflour, sugar, salt, food acids (E330, E262), Yeast, Maltodextrin, Balsamic vinegar, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavour, Flavour Enhancers (E635), Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin), Sweetener (Steviol Glycosides), Food colour (paprika extract), baking powder, antioxidants (E307b from soy, E304).

Honey BBQ and chicken (at least 27 ingredients)

AFK reviews Light & Crispy

Wheat flour, vegetable oil, dehydrated potatoes, sugar, cornflour, salt, yeast, maltodextrin (maize), rice flour, natural flavour, vegetable extract (contains soy), food acids (E262, E330), spice, soy flour, yeast extract, food colours (paprika extract, annatto), Emulsifier (soy lecithin), baking powder, chicken, glucose (from wheat), malt extract (from barley), honey powder, flavour enhancer (E635), Antioxidants (E307b from Soy, E304).

The break down

The ingredient list doesn’t look great from the outset with a minimum of 21 ingredients in each flavour of Arnott’s Light & Crispy that I reviewed!  It is quite hard to find the real food amongst these ingredients! Lets look at a few of the ingredients specifically:


Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers use labeling loopholes to avoid having to list every ingredient on their products.  Flavours are not subject to the same law as food additives.  These don’t need to be described on a food label.  Why do you ask?! Because normally their chemical composition is so complex! So in all reality, we actually have no idea what is included in a flavour!

You will see in the above ingredients listing – flavours such as tomato powder, onion powder, honey powder, natural flavour – we actually don’t know how many ingredients are included in each of these! The manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients list as this is often viewed as their trade ‘secret’ or ‘formula’.


As Arnott’s mentioned in their response to me, Monsodium Glutamate E621 or MSG is not included in this product.  However, what is included in this product is flavour enhancer E635 which has many of the same symptoms that come with MSG.  Some of these can include:*

  • allergic reactions
  • behavioural problems
  • heart palpitations
  • headaches
  • should be avoided by asthmatics
  • itchy rash

It should also be noted that the ingredient ‘yeast extract‘ always contains some MSG^.  So, yeast extract isn’t pure MSG, however it contains MSG, even if it has been derived from a natural source.

“Ongoing research has implicated excess glutamate as a contributing factor in learning disorders, brain tumours, hyperactivity, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and endocrine system problems developing later in life.  MSG is also linked to asthma and a wide range of serious adverse health effects including sleep disturbances, migraine, irritability and depression.” (Additive Alert, Julie Eady).


You will notice that the Honey BBQ Chicken range includes the food colour – Annatto. Whilst annatto is naturally derived, it has been linked with the following potential effects*:

  • Head banging
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Nettle rash or hives

How is your conscience looking?

So, after reviewing Arnott’s Light & Crispy, yes Arnotts have reduced the saturated fat content by 75%, however, I can’t say that my conscience loves them.  How about you?

If you like this blog post and want to know more about products to avoid and which ones are better for you and your family join our Additive Free Kids Community Group, it’s FREE! Join hundreds of other mums ready to assist you on your Additive Free journey.  I look forward to chatting with you there 🙂

* Sourced from Bill Statham’s Chemical Maze.

^ Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills, Dr Russell Blaylock (a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi)