Fruit Products That Contain Little Fruit
Don't you love fruit tarts? Not pop tarts, fruit tarts. The dessert that has clear shiny sugar coating over actual fruit. Sure there's added sugar, but the fruit, for the most part is intact, edible, and recognizable. If you're looking for the fruit tart experience elsewhere, you may be disappointed. You might see a strawberry on a package, but expecting one in the food itself maybe asking too much of food manufacturers. Considering their products could never make it into the produce aisle, we uncover marketing claims that tout “real fruit,” put colorful fruit graphics on packaging and even go so far as listing the number of servings of fruit in their products only to let you down. For those of us who take the 5-a-day challenge seriously, it’s high time to expose the truth about fruit in processed food. With deceptive smoothie bars and fast food restaurants serving oatmeal with added fruit, we have to stay informed about what we’re really being served.
Real Fruit from Concentrate?
General Mills is in some hot water about their Fruit Roll-up and Fruit by the Foot snacks. With the help of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a California woman sued the Golden Valley-based packaged foods giant for misleading consumers about their products’ healthiness. According to the lawsuit, their “made with real fruit” claim incorrectly describes the fruit snacks’ ingredients, which, in spite of the flavor of the product, only contain pears from concentrate. One Fruit Roll-Up contains 50 calories. The products remaining ingredients, which include dried corn syrup, sugar and cottonseed oil. Stretch Island Fruit Co. makes “fruit leather” and while its ingredient list contains no sweeteners, its strawberry fruit strip’s first listed ingredient is apple puree concentrate. While strawberry puree is an ingredient, it’s third behind, wait for it, pear puree concentrate. Fig Newtons are now known as just Newtons, but at least they really do contain figs, in addition to sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and regular corn syrup of course. A similar product that makes the “made with real fruit” claim, NutriGrain bars, only contain strawberry puree from concentrate as well. What’s real about concentrated fruit?
Fake Fruit and Little Fruit
Most of us know that Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles have no real cherries floating around in the box, but a blueberry cereal should, right? Not so much. Special K’s blueberry cereal has blueberries in its ingredient list, but I’m unsure why it’s listed after “contains 2% or less of.” In that same area 6 artificial colors are also listed. Surprisingly sugar is the third listed ingredient behind rice and whole grain wheat. It’s safe to say the whole blueberries on the front of the box didn’t make it into the bag. We previously reported on foods with fake blueberries, and just wanted to remind you the blueberry deception is still in full effect.
Sugary Yogurt with a Little Fruit
I like yogurt, but I buy it plain in a half gallon tub for a reason. I read the ingredient list of a couple of the major brands of yogurt and found that sugar is listed before fruit most of the time. Both Dannon and Yoplait include sugar, corn starch and high fructose corn syrup, sandwiching the strawberries listed in their yogurt’s ingredients. The Ricera, Silk and Whole Soy &Co. brands of yogurt list evaporated cane juice, a product that originates from sugar cane just as white sugar, before their blueberry, raspberry and Apricot Mango fruit inclusions. Chobani’s Stawberry Greek Yogurt and Breyers’ Yo Crunch Bluberry Fruit Parfait both list their fruit contents before sweetener, but alas, there’s still sweetener. Even the Stonyfield Farm YoBaby yogurt has more sugar than sweet potatoes in it. Forgo the flavored yogurt if you can and you’ll bypass additional preservatives as well. Plain yogurt generally has a simple ingredient list of milk and yogurt cultures.
What fruit-flavored processed products have you eaten lately? Where does fruit rank in the ingredient list?