Luscious strawberries are pictured on the carton of Yoplait Strawberry Splash yogurt, but there are no strawberries inside. There are no berries in Berry Berry Kix or fruit in Post Fruity Pebbles either.
A nonprofit organization recently did a survey of the most heavily advertised children’s snack foods. Despite the words fruit or fruity in their names, and pictures of berries, oranges and other fruits on their packages, 19 of 37 snacks analyzed – more than half – had no fruit in them at all. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero fruit.
Another six snacks examined contained minimal amounts of fruit, 2-10% fruit juices, mostly. Lack of fruit was only part of the problem. Analysts also found extraordinarily high levels of added sugar, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup, a leading culprit in the nation’s epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes.
Food manufacturers need to be more honest about how they market food, especially to children. But parents need to be more skeptical too. If you want your children to eat more fruit, go to the produce aisle and pick up an apple, orange or banana. 100% real fruit - guaranteed.
Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.