Fruit Roll Ups Still Not a Health Food

I’m sure you are just as surprised as I am — General Mills fruit snacks, such as Fruit Roll Ups, Fruit By The Foot and others, aren’t really as good for you as their advertising would have you believe.

Via Jezebel, Ad Week reports that a DC advocacy group is suing General Mills for deceptive advertising practices, trying to make their product seem like a healthier alternative to sugar snacks and candy.

“General Mills is giving consumers the false impression that these products are somehow more wholesome, and charging more. It’s an elaborate hoax on parents who are trying to do right by their kids,” says Steve Gardner, an attorney with Dallas-based Seema Rattan and the litigation director for CSPI, a Washington, D.C.-based health advocacy group that is also pushing for new voluntary federal guidelines for marketing food to children.

Is it really deceptive advertising, though?  Are any parents under the impression that fruit snacks — wait, let me rephrase — “fruit flavored snack” is actually a healthy food on par with, say, fresh or dried fruit or numerous other healthier snack options like granola bars?

Of course, like most parents, I give my preschooler fruit snacks occasionally.  But I also know how many real fruits and vegetables she eats a day. I treat fruit snacks as I treat any other high sugar food — as a small dessert that she is allowed once a day if she eats well balanced meals, in lieu of a cookie or graham cracker or popsicle.

Do we really need a lawsuit forcing manufacturers to tell us what is or isn’t wholesome?  Isn’t it fairly safe to assume that when it comes prepackaged with bright colors and a shelf life of over two years, odds are it’s not a vital component of a healthy diet?

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Photo credit Julie Vasquez, via Flickr

67 comments

Carole R.
Carole F.4 years ago

Thanks for the post. I think most people know fruit roll ups are not "fruit" and are not good for you. Some people just don't care.

Lisa Hess
Lisa Hess4 years ago

It doesn't matter if you know its bad or not. The companies that feed us need more honesty in their labeling and advertising. Don't excuse their deceit just because most of us know better. You don't ignore it just because you know better. And BtW a cheap dehydrator can be used to make home made leathers that have in them what you want in them and do count as fruit servings and the kids think they are getting store bought, it just takes a little work.

Lois M.
Lois M.4 years ago

As to the question of needing laws regarding food and it's advertisement...Yes!! most definitely! Not everyone takes the time or is educated enough to know when a product described as natural and safe really is. Labelling laws are a must!

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

*gasp* *egad* Fruit roll ups aren't real food? REALLY? Sheesh! Of course it isn't. I'd rather make my own real fruit desserts, such as an apple pie, cherry torte, strawberry cheese cake, etc...

Ida J.
Ida J.4 years ago

thanks

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Bill K.
Bill K.4 years ago

i don't know if it was this or a similar product but i looked at the label of one when my nephew was eating it and it actually claimed to count as one serving of fruit!

Rita White
Rita White4 years ago

thanks

Megan S.
Megan S.4 years ago

I agree with who needs told this is candy not food?

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon4 years ago

Who doesn't know this stuff is junk?