Kids are sweet enough

Sugars in baby and toddler foods

A CHOICE survey found that over half of all toddler snack foods contained sugars that are harmful to health, including fruit juice concentrate, fruit paste, fruit powder, sugar and syrups.

Real fruit or really sugar? How fruit bars are really made infographic.

Food brands often promote these foods with claims of being ‘natural, ‘organic’, ‘made with real fruit’. But don’t be sweet talked.

Processed food companies know that when people see the word 'fruit' they think 'health'. So they plaster it all over the packaging, and it works. In fact, three-quarters of Australian parents say they are more likely to choose kids' food with a fruit image on the pack.

But the ‘fruit’ that is in many of these products is nothing like real, whole fruit. Instead, they actually contain a sticky, sugary paste or concentrate, extracted from fruit but without all the same goodness. This is done by sieving it, boiling it, and removing all its water, until it is barely more than a pile of sugar. See how this is done to a simple wholesome apple.

There are more than 60 different names for added sugar that can be hiding on the ingredients list of a product including dextrose, fruit concentrate, fruit juice and molasses, but sugar is sugar, no matter where it’s from or what marketing spin it’s hiding behind.

We’re calling for improved sugar labelling to make it easier to identify all sugars harmful to health in these products. This includes:

  • Expanding the definition of added sugar to include all sugars harmful to health (including sugars extracted from fruit).
  • Listing added sugar as a separate line item on the nutrition information panel.

We're also calling for processed food companies to be prevented from adding sugars, including processed fruit sugars, to foods for babies and toddlers.

Read our short briefs for more details: