CHOICE have investigated over 80 packaged baby and toddler snacks and found big name brands are offering significantly smaller amounts of fruit and vegetables than you might expect from their product names.

CHOICE writes, in one example, Rafferty’s Garden Yoghurt Buttons are 93.5% yoghurt, but sugar is the third ingredient in this yoghurt, resulting in a product that’s more than 60% sugars!

CHOICE collected nutrition and ingredient information from more than 80 baby and toddler snack products and asked three experts – accredited practising dietitians Laura Ryan and Joan Breakey, and nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton to review the details.

Overall the experts were NOT impressed with the offering.

CHOICE noted Heinz Little Kids Wholegrain Cereal Bars Apple & Blueberry and Rafferty’s Garden Fruit Snack Bar Apple, for example, have more than 40% total sugars. (For comparison, popular mainstream snack bars Kellogg’s K-Time Baked Twists Raspberry & Apple are 35.6% sugar). Fruit ingredients contribute to this total, but sugar and glucose also feature high up in the ingredients list of both.

“Young children do not require excessively sweet foods and promoting consumption of these foods will only encourage a taste for sweet foods and can be hazardous for young teeth,” says dietitian Laura Ryan.

“Naturally sweetened with fruit ingredients” claims the packaging of Heinz Little Kids Fruit & Chia Shredz, but the product is 35% apple juice concentrate – and a small 18g serve contains the equivalent of more than three teaspoons of sugar.

Little Bellies Mini Gingerbread Men are “sweetened only with grape juice”, but grape juice concentrate – aka sugar – makes up 29% of the product.

“I wouldn’t recommend any product with added sugar, salt or fruit juice concentrates or fruit juice,” says nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton.

“Babies (and all children) need to eat more fruits, vegetables, wholegrains – as real foods, not as puffs, bars and snack foods that bear little resemblance either in appearance or consumption to anything that actually they would recognise as a basic food,” says Stanton.

Ryan encourages parents to consider snacks as ‘mini’ meals, and offer a selection of foods from all food groups. “Keep it simple and easy,” she says. “Children do not need fancy products to enjoy what they eat.”

For a simple, nutritious snack for babies and toddlers, CHOICE experts suggest the following:
•Fresh fruit pieces (offer a variety of colours and types)
•Veggie sticks (offer a variety of colours and types)
•Wholemeal bread or toast fingers with a nut spread (allergies permitting)
•Plain yoghurt or cheese pieces
•Boiled eggs, cold cooked meats, baked beans
•Plain rice cakes, corn thins, wholemeal mini pikelets with grated vegies, cooked pasta pieces, dry cereal pieces

Full report on choice.com.au

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  • i never really bought too much of this stuff for my kids but in the first year with my first born, i had no clue about making the food myself


  • I’ve banned these so called healthy snacks totally and I wouldn’t give them ever to my bubba.
    Back to basics is what we’ve done, just pure foods and home prepared meals and snacks. And ditch the sugar also in the kitchen cupboard.


  • To be fair, there is a lot of natural sugars in these products from the amount of fruit added. But sugar is sugar so still not great.


  • This is so wrong that baby foods have this in them. Yes fresh is best or home made but some parents do not have the time for this. i do use them but as travel snacks. Reading what is in food products these days can send you around the bend trying to decide if it really is needed in the food.


  • Thats so disappointing. As a parents who has other children and works fulltime, the convenience offered by giving children the Raffertys brand because I thought it was healthy. Now to read this – so disappointed.


  • Whilst it’s not always the easiest, making your own is always best! Plan, prepare & freeze.


  • Baby snacks do not come in packets!
    steam some carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, grapes, strawberries, puree’s or steamed apple…this is food!


  • In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have pre-packaged foods, we would have the time and ability to make it all ourselves (like mums used to!). I made the majority of my sons food but did use some pre-packaged stuff for the ease when on-the-go.
    I am pretty sugar concious so look at total sugars per 100g. Anything over 10% generally doesn’t get touched, unless it has a high fruit content. My son is learning how to look at the sugar amounts and while he doesn’t get it now, he often shakes his head and says “nope, too much sugar” and sighs as he puts it back :D


  • there needs to be better control over packaging and labels as they are often misleading.


  • As if it’s not bad enough the big companies are packing food for adults full of hidden sugar, but I’m disgusted to read they’re doing the same to baby food. Although I’m not surprised.

    • Shopping can be time consuming with so many labels to read!


  • I can’t believe they are allowed to sell them. I know the baby yoghurts are high in sugar


  • I was shocked to see the sugar content in these popular brands. Once again clever marketing pulling the wool over the consumers eyes. Who’s got time to read all the labels & compare when you’re trying to shop with kids. You’d think you could take something on face value as being healthy especially when it comes to kids food. Such deception.


  • I’m surprised but at the same time not surprised. It’s scary to see how much sugar is in alot of things but having so much in things aimed at kids, is especially worrying!


  • To be honest it does not surprise me at all. Read the label properly. We’re so obsessed with what’s not in the food (gluten, msg, etc) that we forget to look at what is actually there


  • Packaged food that has to taste good and have a long shelf life is never going to be healthy. Fresh produce is always best.


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