How much can an apple be processed before it ceases to be an apple? I asked that question to a number of food companies a few weeks ago. Now Cloetta has answered about her new Gott & Blandat “real fruit candy”. They say that the candy contains 50 percent fruit, but a large part of this consists of syrupy sweet juice concentrate. In her reply, Cloetta claims that the EU’s fruit juice directive ‘would allow them to call different juice concentrates fruit. But a business lawyer who has looked at the directive says that they are probably out cycling.
Many companies claim that their products contain “real fruit” or “just fruit”, when in fact they are made from syrupy sweet juice concentrates. In early September, I wrote an open letter about this to several different companies. You can read the letter via this link. Two of the companies, Saltå Kvarn and Coop, have already responded. They agreed that their marketing was unclear, and should therefore review the labeling of their products.
Now Cloetta has also answered. They believe that their marketing is completely correct, and that their claims would be supported by the EU’s fruit juice directive ‘. After getting acquainted with that directive, however, I think it seems that Cloetta reads legal texts that currently read the Bible. We will return to that. Let’s start with Cloetta’s answer:
Cloetta’s answer: We follow the EU Fruit Juice Directive
Sorry for the late reply. Good & Mixed Genuine Fruit Candy contains 50% fruit that comes from concentrated fruit puree and fruit juices. Concentrated fruit juices and fruit purees are to be regarded as fruit, as set out in the EU Fruit Juice Directive: Fruit Juice Directive 2001/112 / EC.
The reason why we use concentrated fruit puree and fruit juices is production technology. Ordinary puree and juice contain a lot of water and therefore do not work in candy production. The basis for the content of Gott & Blandat Äkta Fruktgodis is concentrated apple puree and pear juice. Based on this base, we then add smaller amounts of different fruits and natural aromas, and can thus produce many different flavors. The amount of other fruit juices is small because these are more challenging to handle when making sweets. For example, if you heat up strawberry juice, it can easily become dark and give an unwanted aftertaste to the product.
Product name, Good & Mixed Genuine Fruit candy, is based on the fact that the product contains real fruit unlike other fruit sweets that are on the market and where artificial flavors and dyes are used.
Mikael Blomqwist, Digital & Communications Manager
The legal text Cloetta relies on is not about sweets
When I received Cloetta’s email, I asked what part of the EU Fruit Juice Directive they relied on. Cloetta then replied that it was Article 7 of Article 3 of the Directive. They also wrote that the section was actually about fruit nectar, but that they thought that their fruit sweets and fruit nectar were comparable products.
This made my journalistic nose come to life, because in my world, sweets and fruit nectars are different things. So I started reading the directive. Even when I came to the first article, I thought it seemed as if Cloetta had gotten something on her hind legs. According to Article 1, the directive applies only to products such as fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices, powdered fruit juices and fruit nectars. It does not say a word about sweets or confectionery.
My lay interpretation of the directive is that it is, among other things, to protect us consumers against food companies having a lot of rubbish in our juices, such as dyes. It is absolutely not for companies to be able to market sweets as “fruit”.
But I’m not a lawyer. That’s why I contacted a business lawyer I know. She peeked through the EU directive, and agreed with me. In addition, she pointed out that an EU directive does not automatically become law in Sweden. Sometimes other laws may apply here. I checked it out and here instead the National Food Administration’s regulations on fruit juice and fruit nectar apply. Had Cloetta had the slightest control, they should have referred to that legal text and not to a directive.
Has sent a complaint about Cloetta to the city of Malmö
I have now sent a complaint about Cloetta’s sweets to the environmental administration in the city of Malmö. In the complaint, I have also asked them to inspect the list of ingredients on the new Gott & Blandat candy. According to the law, companies must list the ingredients in descending order, but Cloetta combines everything that comes from fruit and berries, and adds it at the beginning:
In this way, the little berry juice that they have in their candy, which makes up a few thousandths of the product, comes before sugar, which I guess should be the first or second ingredient. This makes the product appear much more useful than it really is.
Now I hope that the food inspector in Malmö examines this, so that we consumers are protected against Cloetta’s tough marketing.
The more I look at the food companies, the more I realize that they quite often slip outside the law. If you appreciate my work, feel free to support it through Patreon. Reading EU directives and other things takes time. I would like to review more food companies. Many people fill their packaging with dubious messages.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.