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?
Photo credit Julie Vasquez, via Flickr