Open letter to food companies: When does a fruit stop being a fruit? And when will it be candy?
Our stores have started to be filled with foods that contain “real fruit” and “just berries”, but despite their authenticity, they are as sweet as sweets. How does it really go together? What defines a fruit or a berry? And how much can an apple be processed before it ceases to be an apple? Read today’s open letter to food manufacturers, where I investigate whether the word apple is really synonymous with apple juice concentrate.
Dear Cloetta, Coop, Exotic Snacks, Orkla and Saltå Kvarn!
The other day when I was strolling around the store and reading some ingredient lists, I started thinking about the question: What exactly is a fruit? What defines a berry? And how much can you break down an apple before it stops being an apple?
The question may seem a bit nerdy, but I would love to hear your answers. Ever since Eve fell for the temptation to taste the forbidden fruit of Eden, the apple has affected our lives in many different ways. But now you seem to be redefining what an apple really is.
Coop sells pieces of fruit that are sweeter than sweets
We start with you at Coop. You write that your “fruit treats” are soft pieces of fruit, and you call them “apple”…
… But if you read the list of ingredients, the apple consists mostly of an apple juice concentrate, and what you call “fruit pieces” are de facto sweeter than raspberry boats.
Saltå Kvarn picks apple juice concentrate from its trees
You at Saltå Kvarn work in a similar way. Your packaging states that they contain soft rhubarb, which is sweetened with apples. But if you read the ingredient list…
… One may wonder what the fruits that grow on your apple trees really look like. The apple juice concentrate you have picked must at least be sweet as syrup, because the rhubarb has become as sweet as candy.
Cloetta’s sweets have become real fruit
At Cloetta you have also started to make a form of “real fruit”…
… Which you largely build together with the help of juice concentrate. The berries also consist of juice concentrate, but not so much. That strawberry you sign with on the front makes up a thousandth of the product.
The word “ONLY” is not just about Exotic snacks
At Exotic snacks, you have simply chosen to call your pieces of fruit “ONLY”.
“Only” what can one wonder? In the list of ingredients, you write that they contain “apple juice and puree”, but the pieces of fruit are seven times sweeter than any apple or apple juice has ever been.
Bob’s fruit also consists of juice concentrate
On Bob you have also stuck to the word “Only”, followed by “fruit and berries”. You should certainly be honored that you have produced a jam that is almost half as sweet as regular jam, but your fruit also consists of apple juice concentrate.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: if you squeeze the juice out of an apple and boil it down to something as sweet as syrup, is it still “just” an apple? Is it possible to use the word apple as a synonym for apple juice concentrate?
Is the word apple synonymous with apple juice concentrate?
To get an idea of whether two words are really synonyms, one can try to exchange them for each other in other contexts. So let’s do it. Imagine, for example, if it said like this in an old storybook:
The snow swirled around the children’s sledges as they drove down the hill. They had fun all day and when they came home to mother in the cottage, they were happy and really apple juice concentrate cheeked ”.
What do you say? Does it feel right?
It will be just as strange if you change the old house regimen that will keep the intestines in shape to:
“One apple juice concentrate a day keeps the doctor away from the stomach.”
When the apple’s useful fibers suddenly disappear, you instead tie the doctor to your stomach. If you follow the advice, you will also soon need to call in a dentist.
A fruit salad that flows down into the stomach
If you replace the fruit in a fruit salad with fruit juice concentrate, it will not be so successful either. I tested the other day:
That delicious crunchiness was completely lost and I would have needed some gelatin to make the salad look a little nicer on the plate.
One can also think about how the laws of physics would have been affected if Newton had been hit by a little apple juice concentrate in his head instead of an apple? And what would have happened to Steve Jobs if he had chosen to name his company “Apple juice concentrate”?
A difficult question to answer, I think.
How are sugar recommendations affected if the WHO warns against fruit?
Finally: let’s use the word fruit as a synonym for fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate in WHO recommendations on sugar. They believe that we must reduce all “free sugar” to feel better. But if we use the word fruit in their definition of “free sugar”, it becomes crazy:
“Free sugar includes monosaccharides and disaccharides that are added to food and drink by the manufacturer, the chef or the consumer, and sugar that is naturally found in honey, syrup, fruit and fruit.”
Monosaccharides are synonymous with glucose and fructose, disaccharides are synonymous with ordinary white sugar and milk sugar. But fruit and fruit are not synonymous with fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate. In fact, the WHO carefully distinguishes between these concepts. Real fruit – which has all its fiber preserved – means they are okay to eat. They warn about juice and juice concentrate in the same way as they warn about added sugar.
Can ordinary syrup be called “real root fruit”?
The National Food Administration’s website states that: “The consumer must not be misled by the information about a food. Neither how the food is presented in its entirety nor what the pictures on the packaging look like may contribute to a misleading impression. ”
So what makes you write “fruit” on the front of the package instead of explaining what you are actually selling? Juice concentrate treats, Soft rhubarb sweetened with apple juice concentrate, real juice candy, juice concentrate pieces and strawberry jam lightly sweetened with juice concentrate.
Maybe I’m a whiny language cop now, but if different words in our language suddenly change meaning, you can do just about anything. If you start calling a syrupy sweet apple juice concentrate “real fruit”, maybe someone else suddenly thinks of calling regular syrup, which is a type of concentrated juice from sugar beet, “real root fruit”. And what would happen then?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this!
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.