‘Healthy’ Baby Food May Contain Up To Two Teaspoons Of Unnecessary Sugar, Study Finds


Baby and toddler foods that say they are “healthy” can contain up to two teaspoons of unnecessary sugar, although they are sold as weaning foods, according to a study.

Charity, Action on Sugar, analyzed 73 sweet snacks designed for babies and toddlers and found that while all of them had “healthy” claims on the packaging, 37% of the snacks could receive a red-style label. traffic light for their sugar content. .

Only six products – eight percent of the snacks analyzed – would have received a green label indicating low sugar content.

At present, baby and children’s foods and beverages are not required to display front-of-package traffic light labeling.

The charity said one of the worst offenders was Heinz Farley’s Original Mini Rusks, which contained 8.7g of sugars per serving or the equivalent of two teaspoons of sugar. Next are the Organix Banana Soft Oaty bars, sweetened with apple juice concentrate and containing 8.1 g of sugars per serving.

Heinz said in a statement, “Reducing sugar is a key goal for Heinz for Baby and we are looking for ways to improve the products we make. In addition to the original rusks, Farley’s offers a range of reduced sugar rusks with 30% less sugar.

“The rate of added sugars in these recipes is reduced to a minimum in line with the need to provide a texture that dissolves easily to avoid the risk of suffocation. Farley’s rusks are very different from typical cookies, containing very little fat and no added salt.

Five Kiddylicious products were also rated as high in sugar: Banana Crispy Tiddlers at 59g of sugar per 100g and Pineapple, Coconut and Mango Juicy Fruit Bars with 30.7g of sugar per 100g.

An Action for Sugar survey found that 84 percent of parents of young children reported purchasing sugary snacks for their children, while 60 percent said a “no added sugar” claim would help influence their purchase.

In addition, 92 percent said they were more likely to buy products containing “natural sources” of sugars such as fruit.

Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign manager at Action on Sugar and researcher at Queen Mary University in London, said: ‘It is ludicrous that some food companies are allowed to promote their sweet high sugar snacks to parents of very young people. children, although babies and toddlers should not have free sugars.

“Babies may have a preference for sweet foods because milk is very slightly sweet, but loving sweet foods is something they only learn by eating sweet foods.

“Some companies choose to further encourage this preference by offering a lot of very sweet products from a young age. What we need are companies that make products with minimal amounts of sugars, so young children can grow up enjoying less sweet foods.

Action on Sugar called for the removal of “misleading” nutrition and health claims, especially around “no added sugar”, as this can often mean that the sugar is replaced with a fruit concentrate which can be high in sugar.

It is also urging the government to publish its compositional guidelines for baby and toddler products, which will guide manufacturers on how much sugar to use.

Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University in London and Chairman of Action on Sugar, said: “Consuming too much sugar on a regular basis means we are consuming too many calories. If we don’t use these calories for fuel, our body will store them as fat.

“This can lead to weight gain, and if it happens to our children, it is likely that they will carry the weight into their teens and adulthood, potentially leading to overweight or obesity, as well as excruciating tooth decay.

“It is therefore imperative that food companies act more responsibly and commit to reformulating sugar, salt and calorie reduction instead of forcing unhealthy products with misleading nutrition claims on well-meaning parents.”

Emily Day, Head of Food Development at Organix, said: “The majority of the sugar in Organix soft oat bars comes from dried fruits that contain natural sugars, rather than the juice concentrate that is used to maintain all the ingredients together and to give a texture suitable for a child.

“Organix believes in using natural ingredients such as dried fruits which have the nutritional benefits of fiber, vitamins and minerals rather than using artificial sweeteners or table sugar. Fruit juice concentrate can also be used for flavoring, and we clearly label the front of our packages to be transparent to parents. It’s part of our No Junk promise. As a brand, we’re constantly researching natural ways to cut down on sugar and are excited to share new news on this in 2022. ”

The Independent has contacted Kiddylicious for comment.

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