“Healthy” fruit snacks that contain as much sugar as some sweets – which ones? News
Food manufacturers use claims that imply that children’s snacks are a healthy alternative to confectionery.
However, which one? research has found that the following popular kids’ snacks contain up to 84% of the free sugars a child aged four to six should have in a day (19g). And some have more free sugars than three Jelly Babies (14.7g).
Bear fruit yoyos, strawberry
Packaging claims: Pure fruit, 1 of your 5 a day, no nonsense added, no added sugar, high fiber, never from concentrate, only whole fruits and vegetables, with the same natural sugars as an apple.
Reality: Although the Yoyo is made entirely from fruit, it has been processed, mixed, and reconstituted into such a form that the sugar in it counts as free sugar.
A Strawberry Yoyo contains 8g of free sugars per pack, i.e. 42g of free sugars per 100g. An apple contains no free sugars and about 10 g of total sugar per 100 g.
8g is 42% of the free sugars children aged four to six should eat per day, or 25% of the maximum intake of free sugars for children aged seven to 10.
Yoyo says that to make 100g of Strawberry Yoyo he cooks 380g of apples, 205g of pears and 65g of strawberries, totaling 647g of fruit. This means that 130g of fruit is concentrated in a 20g pack. Although the Yoyo doesn’t fill you up to 130g of fruit, it does contain all the sugar in that amount of fruit.
We contacted the makers of Yoyos, who disagree that their products contain free sugars and told us: “The cellular structure of the fruit is retained in our products, so we are classified as dried fruit” . However, efforts to further clarify how the ingredients were mixed and combined fell flat.
Robinsons Fruit Shoot Fruit Bars Summer Fruits
Packaging claims: 1 of your 5 a day, no added sugar, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, high in fibre, ideal for lunchboxes
Reality: This product contains strawberry juice concentrate and raspberry juice concentrate as well as dates, apple and natural flavors. Likewise, because the fruit is processed and reconstituted, it counts as free sugar. A 25g bar contains 16g of sugar, or 84% of the free sugars children aged four to six should consume in a day.
We contacted the company that makes Robinsons Fruit Shoot bars. He said: “We would also like to point out that focusing on a single nutrient, in this case sugar, without considering what else the food provides is not entirely helpful.
“Many children don’t get enough fibre, for example, which Fruit Shoot bars can also help provide.
“Unlike many other similar fruit snacks, sprout bars contain no added sugar or sweeteners and the sugar in the bars is natural sugar from the fruit.”
Fruit Bowl Strawberry Yogurt Flakes
Packaging claims: Real fruit in tasty yogurt, natural colors and flavors, delicious treat, fun fruit, perfect for small lunch boxes, great as a snack.
Reality: 60% of this product consists of a yoghurt flavored coating, which contains sugar, palm fat, whey powder, rice flour and 3% yoghurt powder as well as emulsifiers and glazing agents.
Fruit flakes make up the remaining 40% and contain concentrated apple juice, fructose-glucose syrup, strawberry puree, sugar, wheat fibre, palm fat as well as gelling agents and Natural aromas.
These flakes contain no whole fruit, only concentrate and puree, as well as added sugar in three forms. Per 21g packet, it contains 13g of free sugar. Although some of this will come from milk and yogurt, it won’t be much.
Fruit Bowl responded by saying: ‘While Fruit Bowl Yogurt Flakes are made with real fruit and only natural colors and flavors, we make no claims such as high fiber or any of the five for a child a day on this range. .
‘As a brand, Fruit Bowl is proud to have created delicious fruit snacks and treats for families for over 20 years.’
Whitworths Frootz Strawberry Juicy Fruit Drops
Packaging claims: 100% fruit. No added sugar. Ideal for lunch boxes, snacks and sharing. No artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or sweeteners. One of your 5 a day.
Reality: These contain 71.5g of sugar per 100g or 12.9g per 18g packet, all sugar-free and from concentrated apple, strawberry, lemon and elderberry juices, as well as apple puree and banana flakes.
Whitworths did not respond to our request for comment.
Humzingers Raspberry Fruit Sticks
Packaging claims: 1 of your 5 per day. Each 13 g stick is equivalent to 67 g of fresh fruit. Packed with 100% goodness and no added sugar. Perfect for a healthy snack or treat. Rich in fiber.
Reality: Although the label states that it contains “dried pear, dried grape, dried apple, dried apricot, raspberry puree (3%), apple fibre, natural flavour, natural colour”, it does not say to make it a “stick” the ingredients must be blended or pureed and reformed, making all of the sugars in this product “free”: 52.7g per 100g or 6.9g per 13g serving.
Humzingers told us: “In our product, the sugars come naturally from dried fruit (96%). We also add a very small % of 100% natural fruit puree to give the product the desired moisture and texture. The product is gently cold pressed, there are no “binding agents” added to press into a stick shape.
The products in the table, as well as other fruit-based snacks, need to be clearer about how much sugar they contain and that they fall under the PHE definition of free sugars. Although they contain vitamins and minerals from the fruit, they do not have the same fiber and the amount of sugar they contain is much closer to sweets.
Like dried fruit, they can stick to teeth and should therefore not be given between meals as a snack.
What are free sugars?
- Free sugars, as defined by Public Health England, are “all sugars naturally present in fruit and vegetable juices (including pulses), concentrates, smoothies, purees, pastes, powders and products of extruded fruits and vegetables”.
- In England, around a quarter of children aged four to five are overweight or obese and a similar number have tooth decay by the age of five.
- To combat this, the government recommends that we get 5% of our calorie intake from “free” sugars – found in soft drinks, cakes, jams, biscuits, breakfast cereals and confectionery as well as honey, syrups and fruit concentrates and purees.
- The latest research shows that children between the ages of 4 and 10 get about 13.5% of their calories from free sugars.