Monday, May 24, 2010

Fruit Snacks - The Great Hipocrasy

Fruit snacks are a really good example of a strong marketing concept. The goals of a marketing concept are 1) knowing the needs and wants of your target market, 2)  and delivering the desired satisfactions. Note the operative word desired.  Lets apply this concept to 'Fruit Snacks.'

The target market for this product is two fold. The primary target is children, typically the actual consumer of fruit snacks. The secondary target is the group of people with the buying power, the parents.
Regarding the food industry, the needs and wants of children are sweets and familiarity, while the needs and wants for parents are healthy, convenient and inexpensive foods.

To effectively satisfy this group, the manufacturers of fruit snacks, and many other 'kid tested, mom approved' products, have created a tasty food product with a healthy image. Kids love the sweet taste and the familiar character shapes and packaging, while parents love that their children are eating something with a 'healthful' advantage that happens to be very convenient (no washing, cutting, or rotting), and relatively inexpensive.

Sounds like a win-win right? Let's explore the supposed 'healthful' advantage of these handy little snacks. Some parents would be shocked and disappointed to learn that typically the first or second ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, or some other chemically created sweetener.  Others may not understand why this is a problem, so I digress.

Chemical sweeteners are more readily absorbed into the body when consumed, requiring less metabolic energy from the consumer, leading to an upset of the natural blood sugar balance. In my humble opinion, this easy absorption of chemical sweeteners would ultimately 'confuse' the pancreas, the insulin producing organ, because the normal metabolic breakdown that occurs with regular cane sugar is not taking place; which could quite possibly explain the diabetes and/or obesity epidemics.

Returning to my original topic, 'fruit snacks', I will point out the the ingredients following the chemical sweetener is usually some form of  gelatin, fruit juice and several artificial colors. Like corn syrup, gelatin is unnatural, and otherwise disgusting. As Wikipedia explains it: "Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated pigs, cattle, and horses."

Next, fruit juice, which sounds healthy, and is the most beneficial ingredient in this food product, however, as Michael Pollan states in Food Rules, "in nature, sugars almost always come packaged with fiber, which slows their absorption and gives you a sense of satiety before you've ingested too many calories." When they are processed, though, the fiber and other nutrients are stripped away and the juice becomes little more than sweet tasting empty calories that don't fill you up and are much more fattening.

Finally, the last 'healthful' ingredient in fruit snacks, artificial colors. Simply stated, humans should not ingest artificial anything - it's unnatural, and our bodies weren't designed to process man made ingredients. But, here are a few of the consequences that come with consumption of food colors, just for grins.
  • The majority of food colors are made with petroleum.
  • They are a derivative of petrochemicals and coal tar.
  • Food dye is pulled off the market regularly.
  • Yellow #2 specifically has been proven to cause ADHD, many forms of cancer, male sterility, and more.
  • There have been petitions to ban these dyes, but they are still on the market.
  • Artificial food colorings have been banned in the U.K. and parts of Europe.
~Science News, Kevin Trudeau

Because I am a busy mother of 3, I know that you can't always serve fresh fruit, but you can make a choice not to serve harmful, imitation fruit in its place.  Should you happen to have a short, fruit snack addict in your home, I recommend weaning them to Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks, which can be found at Target stores nationwide, as well as in bulk at


  1. Someone I talked to on Saturday is trying to be Vegan for a month and see how it goes. She mentioned she couldn't eat Jello. She told me the same thing you did. I am SHOCKED! Yuck!!! I am throwing mine out. I love Annie' kids don't seem to mind eating anything from that brand (and they are picky). Thanks for the great post!!

  2. My kids love dried fruit, the 'original' fruit snacks.

  3. Thank you for being a follower on Blog Frog. I haven't really worked on creating a community there and I haven't kept up with my followers. I'm trying to change that:)



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