When you go to the market to buy stuffs, what do you do? Probably, you know which brand of product you’re going to buy or you make the decision while in the shop or filling your cart. What if we say, we have evaluated the top brands of crackers and identified the best one to buy? Here’s a read for you to make that informed decision.

By Ashok Kanchan

There is a thin line of difference between biscuits and crackers, obviously not commonly known. Biscuits are small, flat, baked goods which are either hard and crisp or soft but firm, whereas crackers are dry, thin, crispy baked goods. To make your buying decision easier, we have decoded five brands of cracker to interpret the nutritional information on their labels.

BrandLabel ClaimsManufactured / Marketed
Britannia
Nutrichoice
Sugar Free, Zero Trans Fats, No added coloursBritannia Industries Ltd.
Cremica
Classic
“TRANS FAT FREE” LOGOMrs. Bectors Food Specialities Ltd.
McVtie’s
Cheese
Trans Fat Free, Source of FibreUnited Biscuits Pvt. Ltd
Parle
Nutricrunch
No added sugar, No artificial colours, Zero Trans FatParle Products Pvt. Ltd.
Patanjali
High Kick Kracker
100% ATTA, Trans Fat Free, No artificial colour, Rich in Dietary FibrePatanjali Natural Biscuits Pvt. Ltd.

Following the Indian Regulation, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging & Labeling) Regulations of 2011, mandatory nutritional information or nutritional facts per 100gram or 100milli litre or per serving of the product shall be given on the label containing the following:

(i) Energy value in kilo calories.

(ii) The amounts of protein, carbohydrate (specify quantity of sugar) and fat in gram (g) or ml.

(iii) The amount of any other nutrient for which a nutrition or health claim is made.

However, declaration of salt/sodium and dietary fibre is not mandatory.

2020 per day Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Indians

Revised RDA’s 2020documenthas added 5 kg to the ideal body weight of Indians. According to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)-2010 report, the ideal weight of an Indian man was 60 kg, and for woman it was 50 kg.  However, the revised 2020 document said the increase in ideal weight was a result of increase in nutritional food intake. The reference height for Indian men and women has also been increased. While it was 5 feet for women and 5 feet 6 inches for men in 2010, it has now been revised to 5 feet 3 inches for women and 5 feet 8 inches for men.

RDA table has been updated and the new table has included carbohydrate while excluded energy. Thereby, as the ideal weight for man and woman has been changed, requirements of protein, calcium has been changed as well. However, there is no change in salt requirement. RDA refers to the daily dietary nutrient intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 percent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. As per the Report of the Expert Group of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) of 2020, major changes are as follows:

 

Age Group

 

Category of work

 

Body Wt

 

Protein

 

Carbohydrate

(kg) (gram/day) (gram/day)

 

Men

Sedentary

 

65

 

54.0

 

130

Moderate
Heavy

 

Women

Sedentary

 

55

 

45.7

 

130

Moderate
Heavy
Pregnant woman

 

55

+ 10

 

+9.5

(2ndtrimester)

+22.0

(3rdtrimester)

175

Lactation 0-6m

 

7-12m

+16.9

 

+13.2

200

 

200

Dietary Fibre

Dietary Fibre refers to plant cell wall components that are not digestible by human digestive enzymes. Dietary fibre requirement can be met by adopting a diet that incorporates plant origin foods including fruits, vegetables and grains.

Benefits of a high-fibre diet

  • Normalizes bowel movements. 
  •  Helps maintain bowel health. 
  •  Lowers cholesterol levels. 
  •  Helps control blood sugar levels. 
  •  Aids in achieving healthy weight.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommends that the daily diet of an adult should contain at least 40 gram of dietary fibre (based on 2000 kcal diet).

Mandatory provisions for claim dietary fibre in food products

As per the mandatory Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 regulations, dietary fibre claim on food products label can be mentioned with following conditions:

  1. For claim that food product is a ‘Source’ of dietary fibre, product should contain at least 3-grams fibre per 100 gram or 1.5-grams per 100 kcal energy value.
  2. For claim that food product is a ‘High or Rich’ of dietary fibre, product should contain at least 6-gram fibre per 100 gram or 3-grams per 100 kcal energy value.

Carbohydrate, protein and fibre

Sl. No. Brand Carbohydrate Protein Fibre / Dietary Fibre
In 100 grams (gram) % of RDA for man / woman  In 100 grams (gram) % RDA for man In 100 grams (gram) % RDA for adult
1

Britannia

Nutichoice

72.0 55.4 10.0 18.5 NM
2 Cremica Classic 65.2 50.2 8.1 15.0 1.2 3.0
3 McVitie’s Cheese 68.6 52.8 8.0 14.8 3.1 7.75
4

Parle 

Nutricrunch

72.3 55.6 9.3 17.2 NM
5 Patanjali High Kick Kracker 64.0 49.2 7.0 13.0 6.0 15.0

Key findings

  • Carbohydrate is highest in brand Parle Nutricrunch and lowest in Patanjali High Kick Kracker.
  • Consuming 100-gram Cremica Classic by a man/woman means 50.2 per cent (about half) of his/her daily requirement of carbohydrate is met.
  • Protein is highest in brand Britannia Nutichoice and lowest in Patanjali High Kick Kracker.
  • Consuming 100-grams Patanjali High Kick Kracker by a man means 13.0 per cent of his daily protein requirement is met.
  • As declaration of Fibre/Dietary Fibre on food products nutrition information of label is not mandatory so brands Britannia Nutichoice and Parle Nutricrunch have not declared this information. Whereas brands Cremica Classic, McVitie’s Cheese and Patanjali High Kick Kracker have done this.
  • In brands those have declared Fibre/dietary fibre, the highest was found in brand Patanjali High Kick Kracker and it was found lowest in Cremica Classic.
  • Consuming 100-grams Patanjali High Kick Kracker by an adult means 15 per cent of his/ her daily fibre/dietary fibre requirement is met.
  • Claim of “Source of Fibre” by brand McVitie’s Cheese is true.
  • Claim of “Rich in Dietary Fibre” by brand Patanjali High Kick Kracker is also true.

Traffic Light Labeling System

Foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt are linked with obesity and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure. Food Standards Agency of United Kingdom (U.K.) developed Traffic light Labeling guidelines to help consumers to:

  • Correctly identify healthier food products.
  • Make comparisons between products easily.
  • Make these comparisons at a glance.

The above labelling system however is not followed in India.

The criteria for foods were set out as follows (per 100-gram food):

Ingredient

Green

(Low content)

Amber

(Medium content)

Red

(High content)

Fat less than or equal 3 gram More than 3 gram to 17.5 gram more than 17.5 gram
Sugar less than or equal 5 gram More than 5 gram to 22.5 gram more than 22.5 gram
Salt less than or equal 0.3 gram More than 0.3 gram to 1.5 gram more than 1.5 gram

Interpreted results can be easily understood as follows:

Green:  Eat often (Desirable)

Amber: Eat occasionally (Neutral)

Red: Eat sparingly (Undesirable)

WHO guidance on dietary salt

Adults should consume less than 2-grams of sodium, or 5-grams of salt per day. A person with elevated sodium levels could be at risk of raised blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Edible oil used and Traffic Light rating

Sl. No. Brand Edible Oils used in cracker manufacturing Fat Sugar Salt

In 100 grams

(gram)

Traffic Light

In 100 grams

(gram)

Traffic

Light

In 100 grams

(gram)

Traffic

Light

1

Britannia

Nutichoice

Refined Palm Oil & Palmolein 15.0 Amber Less than 0.5 (Natural) Green NM
2 Cremica Classic Palm Oil 22.0 Red 1.8 Green 1.5* Amber
3 McVitie’s Cheese Palm Oil & Palmolein 17.5 Amber 6.2 Amber NM
  4

Parle 

Nutricrunch

Refined Palm Oil 15.6 Amber 0.0 Green NM
5 Patanjali High Kick Kracker Palm Oil & Palmolein Oil 23.0 Red 13.0 Amber NM

NM – Not Mentioned

*Sodium multiplied by 2.5

Key findings

  • All brands used palm oil and/ palmolein oil in making of their crackers. Palm oil and palmolein oil are rich in saturated fat which is not a healthy fat. 
  • Traffic Light for fat in brands Cremica Classic and Patanjali High Kick Kracker are red – means consume these brands sparingly. In the rest three brands, Traffic Light is amber – means consume these brands occasionally
  • Traffic Light for sugar in brands McVitie’s Cheese and Patanjali High Kick Kracker are amber – means consume these brands occasionally. In the rest three brands Traffic Light is green– means consume these brands often.
  • As declaration of sodium/salt on food products nutrition information of label is not mandatory. Voluntarily, brand Cremica Classic has declared the level of sodium.
  • Traffic Light for salt for brand Cremica Classic is amber.
  • As per WHO Guidance, consuming 100-grams Cremica Classic by an adult means 30 per cent of his/her daily salt requirement is met. 

Unit price

Unit pricing or comparative pricing is a way to show the price of a commodity in relation to a standard unit of measure, such as the kilogram or litre. Unit price gives fair idea about cheaper and costlier brands.

Sl. No. Brand

Maximum Retail Price (MRP)

(Rs.)

Declared Net Weight

(gram)

Unit Price

(Price per 100 gram)

(Rs.)

1

Britannia

Nutichoice

15.00 100 15.00
2 Cremica Classic 25.00

120

(100 + 20 Extra)

20.33
3 McVtie’s Cheese 25.00 120 20.83
4

Parle 

Nutricrunch

15.00 100 15.00
5

Patanjali

High Kick Kracker

10.00

90

(84 + 6 Extra)

11.11

Key finding

As per the unit price chart above, the cheapest brand is Patanjali High Kick Kracker and costliest are Cremica Classic and McVitie’s Cheese.

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