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KIND urges industry to disclose hidden sugars

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:4/15/2019 02:04:18 PM

KIND's ‘Sweeteners Uncovered’ pop-up and online index discloses disguised ingredients found in popular snacks in the U.S.  

KIND Healthy Snacks is encouraging other snack food companies in the United States to become more transparent about their use of sweeteners. A maker of snack bars made with fruits, nuts, and other nutrient dense ingredients, KIND has always been open about the sugar in its snacks.  To educate consumers, the company shared an augmented reality installation and online database that showcased different sweeteners and sugar sources hidden in top-selling snacks, including those from its competitors. The information was shown to the public from 10-11 April 2019 in 579 Broadway in SoHo.

(PRNewsfoto/KIND Healthy Snacks)

“There are more than 100 different names and types of sweeteners and sugar sources out there. Many of these are still foreign to me, and there’s no doubt that consumers are also confused,” says Daniel Lubetzky, Founder & CEO of KIND. “When some of the top-selling snacks many people believe to be healthy have a similar sugar profile as a dessert, that’s a problem. People deserve to know what they’re eating.”

The pop-up display comes at a time when sweeteners and sugar sources are more rampant in snacks than ever. Nearly 75% of packaged foods and drinks in the U.S. contain a sugar or low-calorie sweetener, according to a study in The Lancet.1 In a survey2 fielded by Washington DC-based Morning Consult, 41% of respondents say when they read a food label, they don’t understand which ingredients are sweeteners.

(PRNewsfoto/KIND Healthy Snacks)

“While peoples’ focus surrounding sweeteners is increasing, there’s little understanding of how to identify them on food labels,” says Stephanie Csaszar, Registered Dietitian and Health & Wellness Expert at KIND. “How can we expect consumers to know that hydrogenated starch is a mixture of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol or that sucanat is a less-refined version of cane sugar? Through this effort, we aim to bring greater awareness to the 100+ name variations and types of sweeteners and sugar sources found in foods that individuals might not realize they’re consuming daily.”

Snack categories such as energy and snack bars, yogurt, cereal and granola, are viewed as healthy products. But according to KIND’s pop-up display and online database, a number of products contain as much sweeteners as desserts or frozen treats.

“Added sweeteners are masters of disguise and most Americans consume too much from all the various forms,” says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RDN, California State University, Sacramento. “I teach this to hundreds of my undergraduate students each year as one of my take home points.”

KIND’s consult survey showed:

  • 78% of respondents couldn’t identify the main difference between sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners
  • 42% of respondents say that it’s difficult to determine if a snack contains artificial sweeteners
  • When asked to name any sweeteners found in food & beverages, 40% of respondents couldn’t name any.

KIND’s commitment

  • 2004: KIND launched its first products with the KIND promise to always lead with nutrient-dense ingredients, like whole nuts, whole fruits and whole grains as opposed to sugar
  • 2012: KIND first introduced Nuts & Spices bars – which contain 4-5 grams of sugar without any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols
  • 2015: KIND supported a proposal from FDA to include added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel
  • 2015: KIND announced an effort to reduce the sugar in eleven of its Fruit & Nut bars to contain between 14 and 57% less added sugar compared to prior recipes
  • 2016: KIND became first national snack brand to publish the added sugar content across its portfolio on labels, nearly two years in advance of the deadline set by FDA
  • 2017: KIND unveiled first-ever national fruit snack with no added sugar & made only of whole fruit


2 This poll was funded by KIND and conducted from February 27-March 3, 2019, among a national sample of 2200 adults.

SOURCE KIND Healthy Snacks


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