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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Wolfson experts call for labelling on children’s sugar-loaded “healthy” fruit snacks

A new product survey by the Action on Sugar group within Queen Mary’s Wolfson Institute has revealed that ‘healthy’ fruit snacks aimed at children are loaded with sugars, with some containing the equivalent of nearly five teaspoons of sugar.

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The researchers found that 65% of products had the equivalent of two or more teaspoons of sugar in a single portion, the same as an iced doughnut. Importantly, 91% of products had no front of pack traffic light labelling, and yet all the surveyed snacks featured claims implying that they were ‘healthy’, and all would have received a red traffic light front of pack label for sugar content. In addition, current labelling is based on sugar intake for an adult, not a child, although the products are marketed at children. Action on Sugar are calling on the government to ensure that the current consultation on Front of Pack Labelling in the UK results in mandatory labelling that reflects dietary advice on free sugar consumption.

Sheena Bhageerutty, assistant nutritionist at Action on Sugar said: “These products line the shelves of the ‘baby and child’ aisle in supermarkets, with attractive packaging designed to appeal to new parents. However, the nutritional information is hidden on the back of the packaging, making it unclear to tell at a glance if they are a good choice or not. Our research has uncovered the truth that, based on their high sugar content, these fruit snacks would be better placed in the confectionery aisle.”