(Photo: Welch’s Fruit Snacks)
Welch’s Fruit Snacks sure look tasty, and a lot of parents say their kids just love them. But one group of angry parents is actually suing the company because they say Welch’s fruit snacks contain a ton of sugar and are not really any more healthful than candy.
According to The Daily Meal, a mother in Brooklyn and one in California have filed a class-action suit against Welch’s on the grounds that the company’s fruit snacks are allegedly 40 percent sugar.
”On the ingredients list, which lists ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight, fruit purees come long after all of these unhealthful and non-nutritious ingredients, like corn syrup, sugar, and modified cornstarch,” the suit alleges.
According to the ingredients list on the Welch’s Fruit Snacks website, fruit puree is actually the top ingredient in the fruit snacks. The next three, however, are corn syrup, sugar, and modified cornstarch. If one looks at the nutritional information on the back of the bag, it does appear that there are 12 grams of sugar in a 30-gram serving. Fruit has naturally occurring sugars, but by comparison a 111-gram serving of apple sauce might have 11 grams of sugars.
The mothers are reportedly suing Welch’s for deceptive advertising because the packages say the fruit snacks are made with real fruit, but it does not seem like this case will get very far. According to the ingredients list, the fruit snacks are made with real fruit. They just also contain sugar and corn syrup, and if you don’t want your kids eating those things, you really have to check the labels.
“It is a fact that fruit, whether in the form of juices or more recently purees, has always been the first ingredient in Welch’s Fruit Snacks,” the company asserted to The Daily Meal. “Our labeling is truthful and gives consumers the information they need to make informed decisions. For nearly 15 years, we have been proud to bring consumers snacks made with the highest quality ingredients, that consistently meet and even exceed quality standards and FDA regulations. The legal complaint against Welch’s Fruit Snacks is false and misleading, and we will defend the brand with the facts and record behind us.”
It sounds like Welch’s Fruit Snacks probably have their butt covered on this one, because they really do contain fruit–but if containing fruit made something automatically healthful, my artisanal cocktail and Hostess fruit pie habit would be far more laudable–and the nutrition information is available on the label. Sure, the package design seems to emphasize the healthfulness of the fruit snacks and could definitely convince a person that she was not holding a package of fancy gummy bears, but if you flip the package over all the information is right there. The main lesson to take from this is that you have to read the ingredients list and the nutritional information on every food you intend to eat or to feed your kids. The front of the package is where the graphic designer shows off her elite packaging skills. The back is where all the real info is.