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Sanitarium Coconut Milks – Maybe Not So Good?

So Sanitarium has been advertising its new Coconut Milk far and wide and pushing hard on the fact that it has “no added sugar”. Well it’s true – the “unsweetened” product is free of added sugar. And it is “made from coconut” in the sense that coconut constitutes a (small) part of the ingredients.

They’re also placing considerable emphasis (as you would expect) on the fact that their nut and coconut milks rate highly under the new Healthy Food Star system and declare proudly that choosing to drink their milks is “a choice you can feel great about making”.

The thing is – is it really? Yes this product contains coconut and yes they have reduced the sweetener but that’s not the whole story. It also contains a whole lot more. Let’s look at what’s really inside:

Coconut So Good (Unsweetened)

  • Filtered water
  • Coconut milk (23%) (water, coconut cream)
  • Vegetables oils [sunflower oil (contains soy) and canola oil]
  • Mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate)
  • Emulsifier (lecithin)
  • Vegetable gums (gellan, guar, xanthan, carrageenan)
  • Salt
  • Natural flavour
  • Modified starch (1450)

So it’s 23% coconut milk (being water and cream). Going on average then we can assume that about 30% of that 23% is water. So that’s 16% coconut cream and 84% other stuff.

What do you think? Still a choice you “feel great about making”?

It might not be so bad if that was the ONLY option. But it’s not. Here are some options that I would recommend instead of So Good products:

Option 1 : Buy An Additive Free Coconut Milk/Cream

The brand we use is called AYAM. Checking out those ingredients we see:

Ayam Coconut Milk:

  • Coconut cream 70%
  • Coconut water 30%

Or Ayam Coconut Cream

  • Coconut Cream 100%

These particular products are often the same price in which case it’s best value to buy the cream and add your own water to make it go further. There are other brands too like Aroy-D or Trade Aid and – while some made have some additives – it’s not hard to find those that have better nutritional profiles than the Sanitarium milks.

These are not without issue though because they cannot confirm that the cans are BPA free. My understanding is that they have tested the product itself and no BPA was present. But if that is an issue for you then you need to find a brand in a tetra pack without additives or better still take option 2…

Option 2 : Make Your Own!

And then of course there’s the fact that you can make your own. It’s really not that hard to do. Check out a super easy way to make your own homemade coconut milk. Understandably you probably like to have have the convenience of a store bought product and that’s fine but just then be mindful of which one you choose as they’re not all created equal.

The Other Sanitarium Nut and Coconut Milks

Just for the sake of completeness here are the other Sanitarium nut and coconut milks that are on the market in New Zealand:

Coconut So Good

Filtered water, coconut milk (21%) (water, coconut cream), cane sugar, vegetable oils [sunflower (contains soy), canola], mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), vegetable gums (gellan, guar, xanthan, carrageenan), salt, natural flavour, modified starch (1450).

7.3 grams of sugar (or nearly 2 teaspoons of sugar) per 250ml serving size.

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Sanitarium Coconut Milk

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Sanitarium So Good Coconut Milk Nutrition Panel

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Almond Coconut So Good 

Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), coconut cream (1%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan), natural flavour.

Almond So Good

Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), natural flavours, salt, vegetable gum (gellan).

Almond So Good (Unsweetened)

Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), coconut cream (1%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan), natural flavour.

Almond Coconut So Good (Unsweetened)

Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), coconut cream (1%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), salt, vegetable gum (gellan), natural flavour.

If you enjoy our Supermarket Sleuth posts and are keen to learn more about avoiding processed foods with loads of additives and lowering your family’s sugar intake then our brand new Dom’s Kitchen Club will be perfect for you. Sign up to our mailing list today to be the first to know when we launch.