Product review: Is Obela a basil-less basil pesto dip?

The ingredients list on the Obela basil pesto dip doesn't mention basil, but it does mention herbs and spices and a natural flavour - maybe that's where the basil is?

supplied/Stuff The ingredients list on the Obela basil pesto dip doesn't mention basil, but it does mention herbs and spices and a natural flavour - maybe that's where the basil is?

OPINION: Basil pesto, it looks healthy, sounds healthy and tastes well, yum. The bold colours of the Obela dip range catch your eye, their flavours sound tasty too.

Interestingly, the brand Obela was established by Strauss Group and PepsiCo, two mega-giants.

Strauss appears to own a few international brands, so unfortunately this article is not supporting local - Strauss' home address is in Israel.

But let's learn about nutrition. Before looking at the label I am going to assume the Obela basil pesto dip product is high in fat, especially as there's usually oil that separates. I hope it's good quality fat.

The dip may also be high in sodium because pesto often means parmesan.

I would also expect there to be some protein because pesto usually involves nuts. Let's learn.

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Remember the per 100g column is great for label reading as it allows comparison between products.

The serving size differs between brands, and people. The total weight of the dip is 150g so in this instance, 100g represent two thirds of what you buy.

It's easy to eat dip so 100g may be an accurate portion for some.

Per 100g there is 42g of total fat of which 6.3g is saturated fat, there is also 338mg of sodium and 9.2g of protein.

So, it's a high fat product, it's nearly half fat. The heart foundation suggests the less saturated fat the better.

Fifteen per cent of the total fat is saturated, so it's high in both total and saturated fat. And the dip is not under 120mg, or over 600mg of sodium per 100g.

So, it's not a low or high sodium product, it's somewhere in between.

And 9.2g/100g of protein is okay but 100g of almonds contains over 20g of protein and one egg has 6-7g of protein, so the dip contains some protein, but isn't high in protein.

I'm curious about the ingredient list. The first thing listed is canola oil which, isn't the worst but is also not the best when it comes to oil.

The next few ingredients are recognisable like cashews, pecorino, which is like parmesan but made from sheep's milk. I also see spinach and a vague herbs and spices on the list but no basil.

And a natural colour, Chlorophylls, which is meant to add or restore the colour of the food.

And a natural flavour which has no associated E number. I'm going to assume that the lack of basil in the basil pesto, might mean the elusive flavour is basil. Just a guess though.

So, a high fat product that's medium in sodium and protein.

I'm a little disappointed at the lack of basil, but I guess spinach pesto doesn't have the same ring to it, especially if they can make spinach taste like basil.

If you have a food processor you could always try making your own pesto, that way you can add the ingredients you like, know what's in your food and save the food miles.

- Maggie Radich is a NZ Registered Dietitian.

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