Buddy Fruits: The Case of the Missing Fruit

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Dina R. Rose

From the files of It Is Sold as Fruit, But It Will Teach Your Kids to Crave Candy

I came across these in the grocery store, and I couldn’t stop myself from buying them. They’re little soft, fruity chews sold in the babyfood aisle.






To me, they seem just like…








Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites don’t look like fruit. They don’t taste like fruit. They don’t smell like fruit. They don’t feel like fruit. And they certainly don’t chew like fruit.

But they do look, taste, smell, feel and chew like candy.

“I’m tasty and healthy” the package says.

Of course, one pouch has as much sugar as 2 Oreo cookies. Bad example, I know: Oreos have nothing else going for them.

  • One pouch of Orange Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites has about the same amount of sugar as an orange. That makes sense: the package says each pouch is made from 8 orange slices and 7 apple slices.
  • One orange has about 3 grams of fiber. How many in the Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites? 0.5g.
  • One orange has vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium… The Buddy Fruits? You guessed it: None. (I’m not really sure how this qualifies as one serving of fruit.)

I’m not a sugar freak. I just believe in truth in eating.

Want your kids to eat candy? I’m fine with that. Give them candy.  (Read Candy with Breakfast?)

  • Don’t give you kids candy and tell them that it’s healthy. Or that it’s fruit.
  • Don’t give your kids “healthy” candy more often than you would give them, well, candy candy.

These fruit bites are made from fruit concentrate, a euphemism for added sugar.  According to the USDA:

You may also see other names used for added sugars, but these are not recognized by the FDA as an ingredient name. These include cane juice, evaporated corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate…

I also believe in truth in advertising. The pouch says, Only fruit and nothing else*

The asterix is a dead giveaway.  *All our ingredients come from fruits. That includes the coconut oil you weren’t expecting and carnauba wax.

Ironically, it’s easier to teach your kids to eat right when you let them eat indulgent treats. 

If you want to convince your kids to eat actual fruit, they have to be able to distinguish between the real deal and an impostor. Read Cookies and the Cycle of Guilty Eating to find out why.

Dr. Dina Rose is a sociologist, foodie and mom. In It’s NOT About Nutrition: The Art & Science of Teaching Kids to Eat Right, Dina combines her professional expertise on socialization, her knowledge about nutrition, parenting and food psychology research, with the practical skills she has gained from talking to, interviewing and coaching hundreds of parents.


  • dmommie2000

    Well said! Thanks for bringing this “real fruit” issue to the public’s attention!

  • Nour Zibdeh @ Nourition.com

    Great post…. I wouldn’t buy them either… absolutely agree. When my kids want candy, I give them real candy, not every day, a small portion, and they know that candy is candy. I think these products are just confusing, to both adults and kids

  • Linn

    Thank you for the wake up call Dina Rose! When parents get into the aisles, sometimes we skip reading the “deets” of brands we trust (or at least consider benign). Our house started using the “3 Kiss Comparison” when considering processed foods, or treats. We ask ourselves: How does that food stack up against just going for the treat? Bam! Much easier to make the call in that context.

  • Pingback: Don’t Give Kids (Gummy) Fruit Snacks And Tell Them That They Are Healthy « mysuperfoods

  • elizabeth

    i dont know what hidden ingredients are in these but i got them for my son who is on a strict diet because he is very sensitive to artificial colors and flavors (gets really angry and emotional) and we had the same reaction. we couldnt calm him down for hours! i couldnt figure out what had triggered this i hadnt given him anything new… except these! i will never buy these again. the pouch i had stated “natural flavors” when i googled that i found you can pretty much label almost anything “natural flavors” i hate those tricky labels and how companies can hide ingredients just by renaming them

  • Crazy Girl

    You’re a doctor but you don’t know how to spell asterisk? Weird.