I’ve been complaining about the quality of kids’ snacks for a while now. Many traditional manufacturers seem to put little if any thought into the ingredients. High fructose corn syrup. Preservatives. Artificial colors. Artificial flavors. Hydrogenated oils. The more unpronounceable the ingredient, the better. Case in point: traditional General Mills Fruit Roll-Ups. Check out the ingredients here. The Fruit Gushers, for example, contain (exact wording from the label):
Pears from Concentrate, Sugar, Dried Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Fructose, Grape Juice from Concentrate. Contains 2% or less of Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Malodextrin, Cottonseed Oil, Citric Acid, Carrageenan, Glycerin, Monoglycerides, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acide, Potassium Citrate, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Agar-Agar, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Color (red 40, blue 1, yellow 5).
Uggg. We usually buy Fruitabu. The ingredients:
Apple puree concentrate, natural lemon juice concentrate, natural apple flavor.
And you know what? My kid likes — no, loves — the Fruitabu. So what’s the need for all that other garbage? I’ll tell you: it’s cheaper, so you can turn a better profit. It’s also sweeter so you can hook the kid in and get them wanting more.
That’s why I was not only happy but surprised when — while browsing at Target — I saw a “natural-ized” version of the traditional Fruit Rollups: Simply Fruit Rollups. Could it be because the company is being sued in a class action lawsuit that alleges General Mills made “misleading health claims?” Who knows. But I am so impressed with the new version of the product that I actually bought it! I want to do a side-by-side taste test between Fruitabus and the new General Mills Simply Fruit Roll-Ups. Here’s the ingredients, taken directly from the packaging:
Apple Juice Concentrate, Dried Apples, Blackberry Puree, Strawberry Puree, Canola Oil. Contains 2% or less of: Fruit Pectin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Black Carrot Juice Concentrate and Blueberry Juice Concentrate Added for Color, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, and Sodium Sulfite Added to Protect Color.
Yes, I could do without the preservatives and the oil, but not bad compared to the original version. Definitely a big improvement!
This post is how I am participating this week in Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays — an awesome campaign to get people eating real food again. What do you think of the packaged snacks that are out there? What do you give your kids?