Flavored Snacks Lack Fruit
Most of fruit flavored food and drinks contain less than 1% of fruit or don't contain it at all. Food Commission studied strawberry flavored drinks, yoghurts, jelly and other snacks.
Study results were quite disappointing: less than 40% of studied snacks contain from 0.2% to 0.5% fruit, the rest of snacks didn't contain any fruit. The study surveyed only strawberry flavored snacks, but the results are estimated to be almost the same for other fruit.
Ian Tokelove from the Food Commission said: "Flavourings allow companies to cut costs at the public's expense. With thousands of cheap flavourings to choose from, many food manufacturers can now flavour their products using these specialist additives instead of real ingredients. Describing a product as strawberry flavour and plastering the packet with pictures of strawberries, when that product contains just a tiny percentage of strawberry or even no real fruit at all, is misleading and deceptive. Unfortunately it is also legal and the practice is widespread."
Food producing companies are not required by law to indicate on packaging what kind of flavor the snack contains. Packaging just says 'flavor', meanwhile there are about 2700 flavors being used in food. Packaging says nothing about the flavor is artificial or natural.
A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation said: "Food and drink manufacturers rely on the trust of consumers to buy their products every day and do not set out to mislead. All ingredients used in food or drink products, including flavourings, must be labelled by law. Manufacturers make a wide range of foods to suit consumers' varying tastes and pockets. In response to consumer demand, companies are increasingly using natural flavours."
However, consumers have the right to know what they eat. They need to be clearly informed about food containments to be able to choose healthier food. Food Commission would like to see fruit flavor type clearly mentioned on the packaging, rather than an appetitive picture of fresh fruit. Still, Food Commission urges to carefully read food labels and purchase healthy food.