Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Corn syrup once more: Mott's' tricky packaging

We're still seeing tons of sweetened applesauce, both at Baja Fresh and at the food store. The packaging on some is so confusing that extremely careful label-reading and comparison is required. My husband went to the store this week for more of the kids' favorite single-serving applesauce, Mott's Healthy Harvest Strawberry (which has no sugar added), among other things (regular shopping trip here - not a run for just one product). No, I don't get any money from Mott's. I just want to make sure there's no brand confusion here. I wrote "flavored applesauce (small)" or something to that effect on the shopping list. I didn't specify Healthy Harvest because he doesn't buy things with corn syrup if he knows it's there, and I figured he'd seen the packaging - and had bought it - often enough.

He came home with an almost identical-looking package - and it was strawberry, and it was Mott's. But it wasn't the unsweetened Healthy Harvest, and it had high fructose corn syrup (and Red 40 for good measure and an odd pinkish-red color).

I went to the Mott's web site to look up their single-serving applesauce options and wrote them a note. Go to the full post to see the text of my message to them...

I don't understand why you feel the need to sweeten applesauce with high fructose corn syrup (or color it with Red 40, for that matter). Applesauce is naturally sweet, especially strawberry flavored. There are enough kids with weight and/or dental problems without going to a restaurant and asking for "healthy" applesauce instead of chips or fries, only to be given your applesauce with corn syrup for your kids! Baja Fresh is one place that serves kids your sweetened applesauce.

Also, for truth in advertising purposes, you shouldn't put "Hand-Picked Goodness" on products that contain high fructose corn syrup. Since when was high fructose corn syrup hand-picked?

Finally - and very important - you need to make your packaging much clearer in order to allow consumers to easily delineate between your types of applesauce. More than once (including this week) either my husband or I have gone to buy small packages of applesauce, only to have to carefully scrutinize the label to be sure we're getting the unsweetened kind.

For everyone's health, why don't you just offer all of your great flavors only in the unsweetened variety and, whenever possible, as an organic? This would probably save you enough money on packaging and shelf space to balance out the added cost of going healthier.

If families really need sweeter applesauce to get their kids to eat it, they can easily add their own sugar or corn syrup, whether at home or at a restaurant.

Thank you!

A very concerned mom,

[signed my name and location]

So, if you're also concerned about calories and/or cavities, please get involved! Contact restaurants that serve sweetened applesauce and companies that make applesauce sweetened with anything other than fruit or fruit juice and ask them to CUT IT OUT already. The few of us (myself not included) who really need the extra calories can surely find their own sugar packets.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am totally on board here. I thought oh, applesauce, this has to be healthy. Why would anyone add sweetener to apples? They're apples! I feel lied to.