Fruit Snacks are Not What they Seem

January 6, 2009 at 11:44 am 1 comment

If you’ve been feeding Gerber’s Gummi-bear Fruit Juice snacks to your children as a healthy fruit substitute, you probably didn’t notice the ingredient list:

Ingredients: CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, WHITE GRAPE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF THE FOLLOWING: CARRAGEENAN, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), CORN STARCH, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, HYDROGENATED COCONUT OIL, CARNAUBA WAX, RED CABBAGE EXTRACT COLOR, PAPRIKA COLOR, BEESWAX, ANNATTO COLOR AND ELDERBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE COLOR

Luckily one parent did and took Gerber to court. A court ruling sets the record straight on this product– it is a candy that contains trans fats, plenty of sugar and only 20% of recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Gerber suggests that consumers may avoid being misled by reading the list of ingredients, but the Court declared that consumers should not be “expected to look beyond misleading representations on the front of the box to discover the truth…in small print on the side of the box.”In effect, there’s nothing healthy about the product, so it shouldn’t be mistaken as a reasonable replacement for fruit.

Parents whose goal is to encourage fruit eating should make a beeline for a box of Clementines or crisp tart apples (preferably organic) that are seasonably available, and encourage the joy of sweet, fresh fruit. While fresh is best, canned fruit packed in natural juices is OK, too. And going forward, be an informed consumer:  read the ingredient panel before making a purchase.

By the way, the product has been renamed, Juice Treats, but it will never come close to the real thing. Fruit is fruit even when it’s been juiced, but there’s no substitute for eating it in a form that resembles its naturally grown state, rather than a processed product that contains enough juice concentrate to sound better than its nutritional profile.

Gerber’s not alone in promoting candy as fruit to parents looking for an easy way out. “Mouth watering taste of real fruit,”  is the tagline for RealFruit Gummies, a fruit snack by Dare Foods, which contains 19 grams of sugar, no fiber and no fruit content.

Even organic food maker, Annie’s, has a fruit juice snack, Organic Tropical Treat Bunny Fruit Snacks that are not close to a nutritionally acceptable fruit, given that the first 3 ingredients are a form of sugar, and there’s no sign of any fiber. While this product provides 100% of a child’s daily vitamin C in a serving, but little else.

All these products no better than juice drinks. Stick to the real thing!

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Entry filed under: Food Ingredients, How Do I Get My Child to..., Nutrition News. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. AvgJoe  |  April 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Just wondering, but who in their right mind would assume that “fruit snacks” are nutritionally equivalent to fruit? Would these be the same people that feed their newborns Coca-Cola???

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