Wonka Redskins are a brand of sweet, raspberry-flavored candy manufactured in Australia and New Zealand by Nestle. The chewy candy -- sold in both bar and lollypop form -- has a consistency that is similar to that of taffy. Wonka Redskins, which cannot be found on U.S. shelves, are devoid of essential vitamins and minerals.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup (or "corn sugar") is an ingredient commonly found in processed junk foods and soft drinks, according to Mayo Clinic nutritionist Dr. Jennifer K. Nelson. This corn-based sweetener has been an ingredient in foods since the early 1970s, and is especially prevalent in products manufactured in the United States and the United Kingdom. This product has such a sweet flavor that it is very cost-effective; manufacturing high-fructose corn syrup is comparatively inexpensive.
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Sugar and Salt
Redskins abound with sugar. Sugar -- sometimes known as sucrose -- is a fusion of glucose and fructose. In the candy-making process, sugar is supersaturated in the candy mixture; emulsifiers are added to the mixture to keep the sugar from crystallizing. A small amount of salt is added to the mixture to temper the candy from tasting too sugary.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat
Hydrogenated vegetable fat is found in a variety of heavily processed foods, from candies to cakes, and is related to vegetable oil. Hydrogenation is the process in which a liquid oil is converted into solid fat; during this process, transfats are created. Transfats have been linked to heart disease and diabetes; unfortunately, in the countries where Redskins are sold, there are no laws that force manufacturers to alert consumers to the present of transfats on their product labels.
Citric acid -- written out on some non-American labels as "Food Acid 330" -- is an ingredient added to candies and soft drinks to impart a sour or tangy taste. The ingredient can be found in lemon juice, but is often manufactured through the fermentation of different varieties of mold growing on a molasses-like substance. Often, the ingredient is used in a powder form by candy companies.
Gelatin and Other Emulsifiers
Gelatin is a product found in many candy products as well as in items like marshmallows, Jell-O, margarine and ice cream; it, along with other emulsifiers, is added to the recipe to thicken the candy and give it a smooth texture. Gelatin comes from pig skins, cow bones and cowhides; even "kosher" gelatin is not vegetarian.
Artificial Coloring and Flavoring
Other ingredients added to the mixture to create Redskins include artificial coloring and artificial flavors. Artificial flavors are made from chemicals in a laboratory. Similarly, artificial colors consist of edible dyes; artificial colors have been added to candy recipes since the late 1800s. Without these dyes Redskins would not have their vibrant red hue.
- Nestle Australia: Wonka Redskins Product Details
- The Vegetarian Resource Group: Food Ingredients FAQ
- "Today's Chemist at Work"; Candy's a Dandy Process Industry; Felicia Willis, et. al.
- Weight Loss Resources; Q&A: Hydrogenated Fat; Juliette Kellow
- "The Daily Mail"; The Fats You Didn't Know...; Mandy Francis
- Explorium: What Is Sugar?
- Mayo Clinic; What are the Concerns About...; Jennifer K. Nelson; October 2010