How Catherine reviews products

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 19 December 2012.
Tagged: diet foods, diet meals, food trends, guides, healthy lifestyle, healthy snacks, review, snacks

How Catherine reviews products

At Foodwatch we take product reviewing very seriously. Our readers rely on the fact that we “say it like it is” without fear or favour. Catherine reviews many products as they come to her attention via readers or at the supermarket or food store. Or she is contacted by manufacturers or growers. Here's what she looks for when writing a Product Review. 

Foodwatch Review Criteria

Catherine's Reviews have four main areas – nutrition, convenience, taste and sustainability. Nutrition is our big thing so it gets a score out of 20 then Taste, Convenience and Sustainability each get a score out of 10. This gives an overall score out of 50 to earn a Foodwatch apple rating.

To find out how much a Sponsored Review costs and see examples of past Reviews, go to the post Get Your Product Reviewed

1. Nutrition  /20

To gain a 20, a product should be as nutritious and healthy as possible for that category of foodstuff e.g. salt-reduced, healthy fats, as little sugar as possible, high in fibre, whole grain (over 50 per cent whole grains), nutrient-dense or with an added bonus of calcium, iron, B vitamins or the like. The nutrition criteria vary with the category of food – oils ain't cereals or eggs!

2. Taste  /10

 As taste is a personal preference we taste test using a panel of several people. A 10 is scored when the majority of them think the product is outstanding and they want more. Think really delicious!

3. Convenience  /10

To gain a score of 10 the product should make life easier for busy women and offer a genuine saving in time or work in the kitchen e.g. be pre-cooked, be portion-sized, be ready to cook or ready to eat, or similar.

4. Sustainability  /10

To gain a score of 10, the product needs to earns a point for each of the following:

  • be environmentally friendly
  • have no or minimal packaging
  • have recyclable packaging or be recyclable/bo-degradable itself
  • fair-trade
  • organic/free-range/grass-fed
  • locally-grown or sourced
  • seasonal
  • looking after farm and factory workers
  • minimise food waste
  • another "ethical" claim

This Sustainability criteria was only introduced in 2012 so earlier reviews don't have it.

General review considerations:

  • The fewer additives (artificial colours, preservatives, flavours, etc) the better – though this won't necessarily exclude you from a good rating depending on the category of product. We recognise the role of manufactured foods in our urban world and want food that keeps well in top quality and gets out to remote areas.
  • We note on the review that it is a paid review but that all the usual criteria have been adhered to. Our criteria are transparent and are viewable by all readers.

 To request a Review

Please contact us and put REVIEW in the subject line. We'd love to hear from you. We have accredited dietitians waiting to review your product or service. We will email you the request form and details of where to post or courier your product. Read up on the details here

Request a Review now

 


The Foodwatch Apples

We use the following system to summarise our findings. Instead of stars we use Foodwatch apples. This is how the system works. A food can earn a maximum of 5 Foodwatch Apples from its overall score out of 50 - see below.

Apples 5 smll

 

 

 

 

A score of 45 or above earns 4 ½ apples

A score of 40 to 44 earns 4 apples

A score of 35 to 39 earns 3 ½ apples

A score of 30 to 34 earns 3 apples

A score of 25 to 29 earns 2 ½ apples - see below:

Apples 2 half smll

 

 

 

 

A score of 20 to 24 earns 2 apples

A score of 15 to 19 earns 1 ½ apples

A score of 10 to 14 earns 1 apple

A score of 5 to 9 earns ½ apple

A score of 0 to 4 earns no apples - see below:

Apples 0 smll

 

 

 


Two rating examples:

Food XYZ has the following ratings:

  • Nutrition:14/20
  • Convenience: 5/10
  • Taste: 7/10
  • Sustainability: 5/10

So far it has earned 31 out of 50 – and earned 3 apples.

Food ABC has the following ratings:

  • Nutrition: 8/20
  • Convenience: 7/10
  • Taste: 7/10
  • Sustainability: 3/10

 So far it has earned 25 out of 50 – and earned 2 1/2 apples.


The Rotten Apple

Apples rotten V4 smllYou should be aware that we do take off points for gratuitous additions e.g. small amounts of herbs or nutrients that are just there for window dressing or are an attempt to make something look healthy when it isn't. Yes it's "health washing" at its cleverest!

We reserve the right to award a rotten apple to the products we consider unhealthy for some reason e.g. loaded with extra caffeine or too much sugar or posing as something they are not. As we all know rotten apples ruin the whole barrel so if a product gets a rotten apple all its other apples are nullified.

An example:

Food JKL has the following ratings:

  • Nutrition: 6/20
  • Convenience: 9/10
  • Taste: 6/10
  •  Sustainability: 2/10

This result would earn it 23 out of 50 – and earned 2 apples.

However this fictitious product is a breakfast bar with enough added caffeine to equal three cups of coffee we would give it a Rotten Apple and this outweighs its other score. And the rotten apple icon would appear at the top of the review instead of the 2 apples.


 To request a Review

Please contact us and put REVIEW in the subject line. We'd love to hear from you. We have accredited dietitians waiting to review your product or service. We will email you the request form and details of where to post or courier your product. Read up on the details here

Request a Review now

 


Examples of sponsored reviews

For Woolworths Michelle Bridges Delicious Nutritious range of frozen dinners: 

Asian Chicken components Lndspe

 

For Lupin Foods lupin flakes:

Lupin Flakes striped

 

For Golden Circle Probiotic Juice:

GC Probiotic Juices teaser

 

For Made For You Frozen Dinners for people with diabetes:

MFY Veg-lasagne-box 

 

 

Read my 10 most popular reviews

1. Lactose-free yoghurts side-by-side

2. Dietlicious home-delivered diet meals

3. Quorn - an innovative new meat replacement

4. SumoSalad – healthy fast food lunch?

5. Konjac low-cal thin noodles

6. Rice malt syrup

7. LowGIcane sugar

8. My first encounter with BARLEYmax

9. Stevia sweeteners side by side

10. Rice Bran Oil

Contact me to discuss a review of your product.

 


 To request a Review

Please contact us and put REVIEW in the subject line. We'd love to hear from you. We have accredited dietitians waiting to review your product or service. We will email you the request form and details of where to post or courier your product. Read up on the details here

Request a Review now