'99% fruit and veg'. It has to be healthy, doesn’t it?
Food manufacturers know that people associate the word 'fruit' with 'health'. And so they plaster it all over the packaging, especially in kids’ food.
In a lot of cases, these products actually contain sticky, sugary paste, extracted from fruit. This is done by sieving it, boiling it, and removing all its water, until it’s barely more than a pile of sugar.
We want to help parents cut through the marketing spin.
It doesn’t matter if it’s sugar from fruit concentrate, honey, dextrose, sugar cane, or any of the other 40+ names it goes by. Sugar is sugar is sugar, no matter where it’s from and what marketing it’s hiding behind.
Parents deserve to know what’s really in the products they’re feeding their kids.
Don’t be sweet-talked
Read the label
- Check the ingredients list. Sugar could be hiding behind another name (see below).
- Check the nutrition information panel to compare sugar content in products. Remember added sugars and naturally occurring sugars are not listed separately.
To check how much sugar is in products you buy, compare numbers in the Avg Quantity per 100g column of the nutrition information panel.
Get to know your sugars
Did you know sugar isn’t always called 'sugar' in an ingredients list? It could be called at least 40 other things. As a general rule, anything with the words 'paste', 'juice', 'syrup', 'cane' or, of course, 'sugar' should raise a red flag.
Here are a few of the more common names for sugar found in Australia:
- Fruit paste, juice, concentrate or extract (look for specific fruits, too)
- Cane, raw, brown or invert sugar
- Corn or golden syrup
- Dextrose or Multidextrose
- Malt or Malt extract
See more names from Choice
See more on cutting back on sugar from LiveLighter
What you can do
Name and shame
Does a food’s health claim look too good to be true? It probably is. Share examples of dodgy health claims with the #kidsaresweetenough hashtag on social media.
Ask them to make 'added sugar' labelling mandatory in your state.
Write to the manufacturer
If you see misleading health claims on a kids’ food (especially with a high sugar content), write to the manufacturer and call them out.