Frequently asked questions
Questions and answers concerning our products
What raw materials does Rieber & Søn use?
We use a wide range of food raw materials. Examples include vegetables, flours and starches, fruits and berries, fat, stock, egg, milk, cheese, spices and additives.
Are preservatives used in the dried products?
No. Drying is a preservation method whereby water is removed, which makes the use of preservatives unnecessary. The water content is so low that neither mould, yeast nor bacteria can grow. The water content in Rieber & Søn’s products is about 4-6%. Drying is actually the oldest preservation method in the world. Just think about dried fish, raisins (grapes), grains, flours, nuts etc.
Does Rieber & Søn make ready-made soups and then dry them?
No, we use dried raw materials and ingredients that we buy from the world market. They are mixed at our production plants using large mixers and then packed in packets and cartons.
Do the dried products contain any nutrition?
Yes. All the basic nutrients are preserved by drying. It is only the water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, that diminish somewhat by dehydration. All treatment of foods, when fresh raw materials are stored or cooked, lead to some vitamin C loss.
Are the raw materials thoroughly inspected?
Yes. The raw materials are inspected in accordance with guidelines prepared by international advisory bodies and authorities. We perform regular quality checks of goods from all our suppliers, and our most important suppliers are audited by ourselves or by third party certification bodies.
What is an additive?
An additive is a chemical substance that is approved for use in foods and beverages. We all have a number of additives in our home kitchen: baking soda, citric acid, ammonium bicarbonate (hartshorn salt) and caramel colour, to mention a few. Additives are used to give flavour, texture or colour to the products or to extend their shelf life. They are also referred to as E numbers. This is because they have been assigned a number in accordance with a European numbering scheme, in which E stands for Europe. Read more about additives.
Are all additives artificial?
No, a lot of them are natural substances. These are often extracted from plants. Others are so-called nature identical substances. They are identical to what is found in nature, but have been manufactured in production plants. Some are artificially manufactured. Additives are divided into groups. Colours are found from E100 upwards, preservatives from E200 upwards etc. The numbers go all the way up to E1521.
Are additives dangerous?
All food additives with an E number are approved for use in foods and beverages, for specific categories and in specific amounts. They have been subjected to independent scientific and medical tests, and are approved only when no health hazards have been found on normal healthy people.
A list of approved additives is available on the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s website and in EU on http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1995L0002:20060815:EN:PDF
What additives does Rieber & Søn use?
We only use approved additives, and only when we really need to. The substances vary from one product to the next. The labelling states which substances the product contains. We have mainly opted to use the name of the additive rather than the E number because we believe it is more descriptive for the consumer.
Is it true that the higher the E number, the more dangerous the additive?
No. The numbering from 100 to 1521 relates to categories of substances. Starches for example, which are completely natural substances, often have high E numbers.
What is trans fat and is it dangerous?
Trans fats are made from natural fats by treatment with hydrogen (hydrogenated) to extend their shelf life and to improve or change their properties. They were previously used extensively in the food industry. There is widespread discussion regarding trans fats among healt- and nutrition experts. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the levels consumed in a normal diet are well within the acceptable levels. Read more about oils and fats.
Does Rieber & Søn use trans fat?
No. We have removed all the trans fat from our products and replaced it with rapeseed oil and/or sunflower oil. For some few categories we use palm oil. In general, our dried soups and sauces contain little fat, only about 2%.
Does Rieber & Søn use genetically modified ingredients?
No. We do not use genetically modified ingredients. All the suppliers that sell us raw materials must provide a written guarantee that they only deliver traditionally grown products. Read more about genetically modified food and our attitude towards it.
What is glutamate?
Glutamate, also called MSG (monosodium glutamate), is a salt of the amino acid glutamic acid. MSG is used to enhance other salty flavours, but has little taste of its own. It is called a flavour enhancer. Natural glutamate is found in many types of food, including chicken, milk, tomatoes and cheese. Mother’s milk is rich in natural glutamate. If you add glutamate to food, it is considered an additive (number E621). Read more about out attitude towards glutamate.
Does glutamate contain gluten?
No. They just have similar sounding names.
Do Rieber & Søn’s products contain glutamate?
We have initiated a programme whereby our products shall be free of added glutamate by summer 2011.
Do we need glutamate?
Yes. Glutamic acid is one of the most common and important amino acids. The brain is the organ that relatively contains most glutamic acid. Glutamice acid and glutamate controls the transmission of nerve signals in the brain.
Do Rieber & Søn’s products contain a lot of salt?
A ready prepared soup from Rieber & Søn contains approximately 0.7-0.8% salt, which is a normal salt content. Authorities would like the EU population to reduce its intake of salt. That is why we have reduced the salt content in our product several times in recent years; the first time in the 1980s, and most recently in 2005. In total, the salt content has been reduced by 25-30%. Read more about our attitude towards salt.
Can Rieber & Søn make products that contain even less salt?
It is important that the products retain their quality and flavour and that other flavours and spices compensate for the salt that is removed. Salt is an important factor in relation to flavour, and it seems impossible to find something that can replace it completely. At the same time, we know that younger generations are used to less salt. We will follow this trend and probably make further reductions in future.