Where is the Fruit in Children's Products
Over half of the most aggressively advertised children’s foods that prominently feature fruit on their packaging contain no fruit at all, according to a study released by the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments. The study - Where’s the Fruit? reveals that 51 percent of these products do not contain fruit, and another 16 percent contain only minimal amounts of fruit despite prominent fruit promotions on the packaging.
"Parents drawn to products that seem healthier for their children based on references to fruit on the packaging are being deceived," explains Leslie Mikkelsen, a registered dietician with the Strategic Alliance and lead author of the study. "Food and beverage companies are some of the most sophisticated communicators in the world and are clearly capable of accurately reflecting what is in their products if they wanted to."
The Where’s the Fruit? study identifies the most heavily advertised children’s food products that include words and images of fruit and/or fruit ingredients on the packaging. A total of 37 products were included in the final study, and their ingredient lists were analyzed to determine the presence of fruit ingredients. A full 51% of the products contained no fruit ingredients at all despite the images of fruits and use of words such as fruity, fruit flavors and berry on the packaging.
"The nation is facing a staggering epidemic of chronic diseases that result from poor eating and physical inactivity," cautions Dr. Andria Ruth, a pediatrician for the Diabetes Resource Center of Santa Barbara. "Children are particularly affected and these food companies are making parents’ jobs even harder by using misleading packaging to lead them to think that they are making a healthy choice when they are not."