Rafferty’s Garden values healthy, natural, REAL food… yet has yeast extract in their new product?

A brand that I used to trust this when I had little ones.

I loved their values. Rafferty’s Garden valued healthy, natural, REAL food. They had high stadards and believed in making sure that our little babies deserved to get the best amazing start to their food journey, nourishing and wholesome food

A  new range from Rafferty’s Garden was released – the Happy Tummies range.

I was eager to review the ingredients (a little nerdy I know, but this is what I love to do).

Always on the lookout for the Additive Free Kids Community, I love to be able to present great additive free options to our community and I was hoping this would be another one.

Visiting the Rafferty’s Garden website I saw that that they claim to use the most premium ingredients, with no added salt, preservatives, additives or anything artificial” and that they source the ‘freshest ingredients including fruit and vegetables as well as prime cuts of meats.

The new Happy Tummies range is designed for babies 8 months and older and the range contains prebiotic fibre to support digestion.

I hear you say, what is prebiotic fibre?

Good question!

Prebiotics serve important health functions for the gut and they serve as food for probiotics.

You may have heard of probiotics, these are live micro-organisms that live within our intestinal tracts, they help our digestion by keeping things moving and flowing.

So basically these prebiotics are a type of fiber, usually undigestible plant fibers that already live inside your large intestines.

Your gut will be healthier if your probiotics have more prebiotics to eat, your bacteria will work more efficiently.

Interested to know what some examples of prebiotics I went seraching and I found that in large concentrations you would find them in:

  • raw chicory root
  • raw jerusaleum artichoke
  • raw dandelion greens
  • raw garlic
  • raw leeks
  • raw onion
  • cooked onions
  • raw wheat bran
  • baked wheat flour
  • raw banana

This got me very curious and I went to examine the new Happy Tummies range and their ingredients:

Happy Tummies Vegetable Risotto and yeast extract
Vegetables (37%) (Onion, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Peas, Kale) Skim Milk Water Risotto Rice (7%) Olive Oil Canola Oil Fibre (Inulin) Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Starter Culture, Salt, Non Animal Rennet, Rice Flour) Yeast Extract Parsley Oregano
Happy Tummies Beef with Veggies and Brown Rice and yeast extract
Vegetables (43%) (Potato, Onion, Carrot, Cabbage, Parsnip) Water, Beef (8%) Brown Rice (3.5%) Olive Oil Canola Oil Fibre (Inulin) Paprika Yeast Extract Parsley
Happy Tummies Wholemeal macaroni, cheese and veggies and yeast extract
Water Vegetables (34%) (Potato, Leek, Onion, Carrot, Sweetcorn, Peas), Wholemeal Macaroni (5%) (Durum Wheat Semolina) Skim Milk Cheese (3%) (Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Cultures, Enzyme (Rennet)) Cream Powder Parmesan Cheese (1%) (Milk, Starter Culture, Salt, Non Animal Rennet, Rice Flour) Wheat Flour Fibre (Inulin) Olive Oil Canola Oil Yeast Extract Parsley Black Pepper
Happy Tummies Curried Lamb and Quinoa Stew
Water Vegetables (38%) (Tomato, Onion, Carrot, Spinach, Peas, Reconstituted Tomato Puree) Quinoa Seeds White (6%) Lamb (5%) Ground Rice Coconut Milk Powder (Contains Milk) Fibre (Inulin) Olive Oil Garlic Spices Coriander Black Pepper
Happy Tummies Chicken and Sweet Corn with Barley
Water Sweetcorn (13%) Carrot Onion Whole Milk Chicken Breast (5%) Barley (5%) Wheat Flour Olive Oil Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Starter Culture, Salt, Non Animal Rennet, Rice Flour) Fibre (Inulin) Cream Powder Parsley Black Pepper

Now after reviewing these ingredients, there are two things that jump out at me as being consistent nearly across the whole new range, the ingredient Fibre (Inulin) and Yeast Extract.

Have you heard of inulin?

Inulin is a starchy carbohydrate that we are unable to digest.

Our friendly bacteria break down the inulin.

Manufacturers like to use inulin as it boosts the soluble fibre in products and you will often find them in drinks, bars, yoghurts and powders.

The other reason manufacturers also love using this ingredient as it gives the product a creamy, fat like feeling to products (such as diet products) without adding any extra fat or calories.

Hmmm…I wonder if this is because manufacturers can produce a product more cheaply but still with a great flavour?

Have you head of Yeast extract?

I was more interested in the other ingredient that was found in 3 out of 5 of the new Happy Tummies range – yeast extract.

For those that have been following Additive Free Kids for some time, you will know that “Yeast Extract” is not an ingredient we love as yeast extract always contains some MSG^.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this ingredient, and whilst yeast extract isn’t pure MSG, it contains MSG, even if it has been derived from a natural source.


What did Rafferty’s Garden have to say?

I contacted Rafferty’s Garden and expressed my delight in seeing their new Happy Tummies range and I explained to them that Rafferty’s Garden was always a brand that I used to trust.

I expressed my surprise to see ‘yeast extract’ included in their new products and that I was interested to understand their rationale for including this ingredient in their new product range.

Rafferty’s Garden replied to me relatively quickly and informed me that:

“yeast extract is a powder that is extracted from yeast cells. At Rafferty’s Garden we use a low-sodium specialty baker’s yeast extract that is free from MSG (monosodium glutamate). It provides a full-bodied savoury profile to our products without increasing the salt content.”

I replied back to Rafferty’s questioning them as to whether they understood that whilst yeast extract technically doesn’t contain MSG, it has the same effect as MSG, especially on young children.

I wanted to see whether they were aware of this and why they felt the need to include it in baby food.

There has been silence from Raffety’s Garden.

Why am I so passionate about highlighting the impact of this ingredient?

As mentioned, yeast extract contains some MSG.

Small amounts of MSG are found naturally in many foods that you would find in your fridge such as as mushrooms, cheese and tomatoes.

However, the difference is that when MSG is in its natural state, the body knows how to handle the MSG and assimilates it into the body and the concentration levels are kept low.

MSG that you find in processed foods are another story though.

They contain highly concentrated levels of MSG.

When these levels bombard the brain they are classified as an excitotoxin.

This means that at higher levels, neurons begin to fire abnormally and they become overexcited, to the point of death.

Children are more susceptible to excitotoxin damage than adults. A child’s brain is 4 times more sensitive to exxcitotoxins than an adults brain*

Common immediate reactions as a result of consuming these excitotoxins can cause behavioural disorders such as ADHD, learning difficulties, sleeping issues, nausea and stomach cramps.

Does this equate to Happy Tummies?

This doesn’t equate to Happy Tummies in my book and the last thing that I would want my baby to experience.

It is hard enough raising babies as it is, you don’t need to have any other issues to contend with.

I would recommend that you make your own baby food, it is normally quite quick to do.

However, if you are looking for a convenient option (some days you just really need them) then please read the ingredients and select an option that doesn’t include yeast extract.

We implore Rafferty’s Garden to rethink the use of this ingredient in their infants products.

In my opinion, the use of yeast extract does not fit with Rafferty’s Gardens high standards to provide delicious, nourishing food to provide the best start to their food journey.

I would love to hear your thoughts, do you think Rafferty’s Garden should remove yeast extract from their baby food products?

^ Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills, Dr Russell Blaylock (a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi).
* Research by John W. Olney MD (neuroscientist at Washington Univeristy in St Louis).

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