Sugar advice

Suppliers have responded to a survey by Action on Sugar that found 85% of processed fruit snacks contain more sugar than sweets.

The group today (29 May) published results of a study in which it looked at the sugar content of 94 different fruit snacks. It said 80 of the products had more than the 47g per 100g of sugar in Haribo’s Starmix, and that some contained as much as four teaspoons of sugar in a recommended portion.

Campaigners also branded packaging “grossly misleading” for stating fruit snacks could contribute to one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

“Parents find it hard enough to know what is ‘healthy’ without food manufacturers confusing matters,” said Action on Sugar campaign director Katharine Jenner. “Whole, unprocessed fruit is healthier than processed fruit snacks and fruit juice drinks, as it contains vitamins, minerals, water and fibre, and does not cause the devastating tooth decay we see in young children today.”

The campaign’s nutritionist, Kawther Hashem, added it was “high time food manufacturers stop adding unnecessary sugars and calories to already sweet products”.

Fruit snack suppliers have reacted to the survey, including Fruit Bowl brand owner Steam Foods which said the data presented for some its products by Action on Sugar was inaccurate as its Fruit Flakes Raspberry Rush had been reformulated last December and now contained 58g of sugar, not the 69g reported in the study (see table).

Steam Foods (Fruit Bowl)

“Fruit Bowl fruit snacks are positioned as an alternative food choice - and as part of a balanced diet – to chocolate, crisps, biscuits and confectionery for mums and their families to choose from,” said Steam Foods spokesman Andrew Saunders. “As a result, we ensure all the products we develop are not fruit substitutes but can help parents who struggle to get enough fruit and vegetables into their children’s diet. That’s why we regularly work with independent experts to review the nutrition content of all Fruit Bowl products developed.

Steam Foods also quoted dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, who said dried fruits, which contain around 70g of sugars per 100g, already count as one portion of the 5-a-day, as do fruit juices and smoothies. “Based on this, a snack made from pureed fruit would also count as one portion of 5-a-day if no extra sugar is added so it is not misleading to include fruit-based snacks as an option, particularly when they are being positioned as a healthier option to confectionery, not as an alternative to fresh fruit. Encouraging children to swap one portion of confectionery for a fruit-based snack benefits the diet, helping to reduce sugar, calories and fat.”


“At Organix we never add any refined sugars to our foods, we make our fruit gummies from organic pureed and concentrated fruits which are naturally high in fruit sugars, so we ensure our portion size is suitable as a snack for children to be eaten as part of a balanced and varied diet. Our Organix No Junk Promise means we never add any refined sugars to our foods.

“Refined sugars are a carbohydrate so they provide energy but offer no other benefits while many foods such as milk, fruit and vegetables contain natural sugar alongside other essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.

“The sugar content in our foods comes only from natural sources including organic fruit and vegetables which we use for flavour. We are confident that by using whole, pureed or in some cases concentrated organic fruits and vegetables in our foods we are giving the best alternative to cheap processed sugars.

“ We want to reassure you that to minimise the total sugar in our foods we are careful with our portion sizes for children and when foods are higher in sugar due to their ingredients we limit the portion size accordingly.

“At Organix we want children to grow up eating a balanced and varied diet so they develop a healthy relationship with food. Sugar is just one of many things to consider when it comes to a good diet and healthy eating habits.”

You can download the full report here.


BrandProduct Name & Pack SizeSugars (g) per 100gSugars (g) per servingTeaspoons of sugar per serving*
The Fruit Factory The Fruit Factory Sports Mix-Ups 5x18g 81 14.6 3.6
Tesco Tesco Yogurt Coated Strawberry Fruit Bites 25g 70.1 17.5 4.4
Fruit Bowl Fruit Bowl Fruit Flakes Raspberry Rush 25g 69 (58)* 17.3 (7)* 4.3 (1.8)*
Whitworths Whitworths Sunny Raisin Coated Custard Raisins 25g 68.8 17.2 4.3
Organix Goodies Organix Goodies Organic Fruit Gummies Strawberry & Apple 12g 67.2 8.1 2
* Fruit Bowl supplier Steam Foods said this product was reformulated in December 2014. The new sugar content of the product is shown in brackets.