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Most foods that display fruit on packaging don't actually have fruit, study finds

Monday, February 05, 2007 by: M.T.Whitney
Tags: food ingredients, grocery warning, food packaging

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(NewsTarget) A recent study showed that more than half of the food and beverage products that clearly have fruit pictured on their packaging contain little to no actual fruit in the ingredients list.

The study was conducted by the Prevention Institute, a Californian non-profit community health advocacy group. It found that in a survey of 37 heavily marketed foods with fruit on the packaging, 51 percent did not contain any fruit at all.

Another 16 percent contained minimal amounts of fruit – 10 percent or less – while the other 33 percent had an acceptable amount of fruit, but also high amounts of sugar.

Products like Juicy Fruit Gum and Froot Loops cereal – both were found to have no fruit in them – raise questions about product packaging that is misleading to consumers.

“The packages might lead a parent to believe (these products) are a healthier option for their children, when many do not actually deliver any of the nutritional benefits of whole fruit,” wrote the authors of the study.

Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and author of "Grocery Warning," says that food companies have always misled consumers.

"It's no surprise. Food companies have always lied to consumers by using deceptive labeling," Adams said. "Smart consumers have to look past the pictures and the exaggerated health claims on the front of the package and learn to read and interpret the ingredients listed in the nutrition facts section."

Foods that did contain an acceptable amount of fruit or fruit from concentrate in the survey included Smucker's Jam, Fruit Rollups and Apple Jacks cereal.

Topping the list were two fruit drinks found to have 100 percent fruit juice: Juicy Juice and Capri Sun Fruit Waves.

The study comes at a time when marketing to children has increased in the food and beverage industries. Overall, an estimated $10 billion in marketing is spent yearly, according to a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine. For comparison, according to a year-end advertising industry report by Advertising Age magazine, in 2005 the food and beverage industry spent $7.2 billion in mass media advertising, up nearly 4 percent from the previous year.

Mike Adams is also the author of the Honest Food Guide, a downloadable grocery shopping reference chart available at http://www.honestfoodguide.org .


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