Dec 2016 03

The health benefits of Jaffa Cakes

By: Dave Wheeler

My ex wife used to say that I could find a way logically to justify anything that I wanted to do.

Given that it's cold and wet, I can't seem to drag myself  out for a run. Instead I've got a new sport: eating Jaffa Cakes. Let's see if I can justify that one.


Jaffa Cakes in sport

In the early 2000's Manchester United's players ate Jaffa cakes at half-time to give them an energy boost. In 2002 England team manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was so convinced of  their ability to provide a small energy boost to the national squad players that he made plans to ship out  boxes of Jaffa Cakes to South Korea and Japan (where you can't buy them), to boost our chances in the world cup.

Many players have allegedly since gone over to the Dark Side (Fig Rolls), but Jaffa Cakes remain popular with many.

Long distance runners. If you're running a marathon or into Ultra then you'll be familiar with the idea of refuelling during the run. For some runners, it's gels, for others it's Jelly Babies, for some it's Jaffa Cakes.


Jaffa Cakes & the law

When McVities 1st produced Jaffa's back in 1923 they didn't trademark the name "Jaffa Cakes" which is why you can buy them made by all sorts of manufacturers and stores.  There's nothing to stop you setting up mass production and selling your own Jaffa Cakes.

In one of the longest and most expensive tax appeals of the 1990's, United Biscuits (the owner of McVities) took HMRC to court in case allegedly costing £1.9m.

In UK law, biscuits are considered luxuries, so are subject to VAT (currently 20%, but at the time 17½%).

Cakes, on the other hand, aren't legally considered luxuries - to the British, they're essentials. Essentials are zero rated for VAT - not taxed.

Unless, that is, the cakes are chocolate covered, in which case they are,  after all luxuries and taxed.

So Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs decided that Jaffa Cakes, being chocolate covered and called "cakes" should be subject to VAT. With 1bn Jaffa's being sold world wide McVities weren't happy as they would have either  taken a hit on profit to pay the tax or put the price up, which would decrease demand.

They proved to the court that Jaffa Cakes are  cakes, but are biscuits. The  clinching argument was that cakes go hard when stale and biscuits  go soft when stale. A Jaffa Cakes hardens. Case proven, no tax to pay.


Jaffa Cakes & nutrition

Anyone can make and sell Jaffa Cakes - M&S one are fab, and apparently Lidl's are gluten free. Still for me the original McVities ones are the best. These nutritional facts relate to McVities:


Calories 46
Protein 0.6g
Carbs 8.4g
Fat 1g
Fibre 0.3g
Sugars 6.5g


Jaffas vs exercise

OK, so admittedly, all I've done so far is show that Jaffa's might help keep you going if you're doing endurance sport or  playing a match. So Jaffas are a great adjunct to exercise - but I've adopted them as a replacement. I think even I might struggle to justify that one.