Action on Sugar is right to shine a light on the processed nature and nonsense health claims of many fruit snacks available on the market - something needs to change.
The fruit snacking category today is full of products made from concentrates, with leading brands even adding refined sugar, glucose and other unnecessary ingredients. The benefit of fruit is being lost. With very little fibre left to help the body to absorb the sugars more slowly, gelling agents are also used to bulk out recipes and bring sugar levels down, making the products more like confectionery in appearance, but offering no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
Juice brands are forced to declare ‘from concentrates’ on packaging, but fruit snacking labelling doesn’t currently follow suit, leaving consumers confused and misled.
Having spent years talking to families, we at Bear know that as healthy and tasty as fresh fruit is, it isn’t always realistic or practical. Parents want to feed it to their children, but it’s not what kids necessarily want to eat.
We founded Bear because we didn’t believe parents or kids should have to compromise, and we worked to find a solution that would offer them a more convenient and engaging way to eat pure fruit on the move. Our products are made from whole pure fruit - never from concentrates or juices - gently baked at low temperatures, with no refined sugar or nonsense: absolutely nothing is added or taken away.
A pack of our Yoyos or Paws contains the equivalent natural sugars to a fresh apple, is high in fibre and is full of the nutritional benefit from the pure fruit that makes it. What’s more, we’re constantly bringing our sugar levels down by using different varieties of fruit that are naturally lower in sugar.
The integrity and USP of our products has been recognised by leading retailers looking to fix the unhealthy checkouts available to consumers. As a result, Bear and Urban Fruit are now sold on more than 10,000 checkouts across the UK. We also launched the UK’s first healthy no refined sugar or salt breakfast cereal, Alphabites.
One in five kids today aren’t getting their recommended 5 a day, which means they’re lacking the essential fibre vital in slowing down absorption of sugar into the body. A high-fibre diet provides steady energy release and helps combat obesity, as well as helping keep kids fuller for longer.
Getting kids to eat fruit isn’t easy: fruit snacking, when done properly and responsibly, offers a great opportunity for parents to help their kids enjoy a delicious and heathy diet. With this context as the backdrop, the fruit snacking category has a vital role to play in supporting healthy eating in this country.
Since Bear launched five years ago, we have delivered 280 million portions of fruit to UK families. We’re really proud to be offering a genuinely healthy product with no added nonsense, and hope this debate will fuel a real change in what brands offer consumers. Ultimately, those who don’t change should have to be more honest and transparent on front of pack, so consumers are not misled.
Giles Brook is founding partner of Bear