A Blueberry, Banana, and Acai Berry Walk into a Bar …

Ok, not a bar, a “granola bites” snack-pack for young children. This is not a joke, it’s a new product – MySuperSnack -  that promises a lot on the nutrition front. But does it also deliver?

Background: The grab-and-go toddler snack market is saturated with junk food for your precious little ones: fruit snacks with no fruit, puree pouches with little fiber and tons of sugar, cereal pouches, and crackers of all types.

These new soft granola bites provide a slightly better alternative to a lot of the products in this niche. However, with all the added vitamins and minerals, it’s hard to see what is naturally occurring in the product. Here is the ingredient list:

Whole grain oats, brown rice syrup, canola oil, date paste, banana puree, amaranth flour, oat bran, ground flax seeds, whey protein concentrate, freeze dried blueberries, vitamin & minerals (vitamin a palmitate, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), niacin, zinc oxide, reduced iron, pyridoxine hcl (vitamin b6), riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b1), folic acid, selenomethionine, cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12)), stabilizer blend (citrus fiber, xanthan gum, gum arabic), sea salt, organic acai powder, natural flavors, baking powder, baking soda, monk fruit.

The pros: We like that the first ingredient is whole grain oats, love the ground flax, banana, amaranth flour and dried blueberries. All ingredients are non-GMO. The nutrition isn’t bad – 180 calories with not many from sugar (just 6 grams = 1.5 tsp). In fact, it has less than half the sugar than a banana and just as much fiber. But this could be attributed to the use of monk fruit instead of sugar. The packaging is BPA Free too.

The cons: The whey protein concentrate and acai powder are less impressive. The product is not minimally processed, and is packed with added vitamins and minerals instead of whole foods carrying those nutrients.

Our take: My Super Snack is a good standby choice for those days when the banana you packed in good faith is found mashed  to death on the car floor.  It comes in a BPA-free package, so no worrying about leaving it in a purse, stroller or car. They also taste pretty good – a bit like an oatmeal cookie.

What snacks are you willing to purchase for your little ones?

Get Fooducated

  • Carol H.

    The monk fruit ingredient listed isn’t really monk fruit (so it is misleading to call it that) but a processed, branded extract made up of mostly mogrosides, which are supersweet glycosides. Dried monk fruit itself contains only about 0.5% of this compound, whereas the extract/concentrate has 30+%. A couple companies (including the one that makes Spenda) have exclusive distribution rights and patents on the extraction process, which destroys all vitamin C (and retains no fiber). In fact none of the whole food ingredients in this treat contain any significant vitamin A or C content, so that has been added. In addition, based on the ingredients list, it seems that sugar content would be higher than shown (rice syrup, date paste and banana puree all are mostly sugar). The product’s web site doesn’t show Nutrition Facts. That’s a major red flag, not to mention illegal when claims are made (“super grains and powerful vitamins”… “nutritious”… etc.). The “nutritional info” tab/page is simply a bunch of links to outside sites… no nutrition info on the products. Just because a couple of moms had a good recipe doesn’t mean they know anything about nutrition or labeling.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      “Just because a couple of moms had a good recipe doesn’t mean they know anything about nutrition or labeling.” True. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the product is unhealthy.

      • Carol H.

        Agreed. But “healthy” is a regulated term for which this product doesn’t meet the criteria, and how a product is marketed/labeled is important. Still… it is better than most treats out there.

        • MySuperFoods

          Dear Carol, while we certainly feel strongly that our product is one of the healthiest in it’s category, we do not make the “healthy” claim on our packaging. We are well aware of the regulations and we actually do meet five of the of the six FDA requirements for use of the “healthy” claim. The only one we don’t meet is less than 5 grams of total fat, which seems a bit outdated as not all fats are created equal and children do need omega 3 rich fats in their diets. As a matter of fact, my kids eat avocado, wild salmon, olive oil and many other sources of fat on a very regular basis.

          • Carol H.

            The web site states “nutritious powerhouse,” which is considered an implied nutrient claim that the product is healthy. Meeting 5 of 6 criteria is close but no cigar in turns of legally complying with the standard for “healthy.” While I agree that the fat criterion (which actually is that it must be no higher than 3 grams, not 5) is a bit onerous/simplistic, that is the current regulation and all other manufacturers must comply with it. Note that making claims (or implied claims) on a web site is the same as making them on the package. All forms of marketing/description are considered “labeling.” You can check the FDA warning letters for examples of this.

          • MySuperFoods

            Carol, here is a link to the FDA rules regarding health claims, it is indeed 5 grams of fat, and not 3. Thank again for your concerns with our labeling/website, but again, we are 100% confident in our claims.

            http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/ucm064916.htm

          • Carol H.

            Hi, You are looking at the fat limit for “fish/game meat” NOT the limit all other foods, which is 3 grams of fat (that’s the definition of “low fat,” except for meals main dishes, which have slightly different criteria) when making a nutrient content claim (not a health claim as you called it), in which “healthy” is included. A health claim “characterizes the relationship of any substance to a disease or health-related condition,” and has different criteria from nutrient content claims. It is all a little complicated… you need someone with expertise in that area.

    • MySuperFoods

      Dear Carol, thank you for sharing your thoughts on our Granola Bites, but do allow us to clarify a few things. We are not “just” moms, we are moms who care deeply about nutrition and what our children eat. Moms who stayed up late pureeing organic fruit and vegetables and waking up early to grind brown rice for our babies’ cereal. Moms who took the time to educate ourselves on the food and nutrition because we wanted our children to have the best start possible. And when we decided to start a children’s food company, we were moms who spent 18 months researching everything from ingredients to labeling. With respect to the our Granola Bites, the monk fruit we use is really monk fruit, we do not use Splenda’s Nectresse or any other similar product. The monk fruit we use is simply the monk fruit juice (from crushed monk fruit) mixed with hot water. Also, you’ll notice that it is the last ingredient in our ingredient panel. The sugar content is exactly as stated on our nutrition panel and independently tested by well known, and respected, food scientist and we are happy to provide with the raw data. If you’ll notice, the first ingredient on our list are whole grain oats, and not a sugar source, like most granola bars. The superfruit in our product are real bananas, real blueberries, real apples, real raisins and organic acai powder. The supergrain is “amaranth”. And we also use flax seed, a super seed. Our website does contain our ingredients on the page dedicated for each product, and the nutritional panel will be up soon (we are a new company, and the website is a work in progress). That said, the nutritional panel is on the product and on the websites where the products are sold. The Granola Bites are fortified, as are many children’s food products because while we would like to all children to get their vitamins and minerals from whole foods, that is often not the case, and this just provides a little boost. While our Granola Bites are not a raw food, they are not nearly as processed as most foods marketed at children. We are 100% confident that are claims are accurate, but if you have any further concerns, we’re more than happy to address them.

      • Carol H.

        I have no problem with the product itself (and haven’t tried it)… just the labeling. If you are using monk fruit juice (probably concentrate), then you aren’t using the whole fruit… and the juice concentrate should be specified in the ingredients instead. If it were the whole fruit being used, in such a small quantity (last in the ingredients list) it would not give much if any significant sweetening or nutrition. Also, multiple sweeteners (including fruits naturally high in sugars) can make up the majority of a product even though no individual sweetener/fruit shows up first on the ingredients list. Many companies use multiple sweeteners for that reason… not saying you are, but just because oats are first doesn’t mean something is primarily oats. Also… I’m not seeing a Nutrition Facts panel on the web site, although there appears to be a Flash problem when clicking on the product images — one of the pop-ups is a tan box with nothing in it, partially on top of an image of the bites and ingredients list.

        PS: The term “super” for seed, grain, fruit, etc. can also be considered a nutrient claim if used to describe the ingredients, and would need to be identified and substantiated specifically for each of those ingredients as to how it provides at least 10% of at least one beneficial nutrient on the Nutrition Facts panel in one serving of the product. I’m not aware of how cooked banana puree or dried blueberries can provide 10% of DV for any vitamins in a product like this at such quantities, but they are a preferable form of sweetener, because they bring some fiber, potassium, etc., as well as flavor.

        • MySuperFoods

          Carol, because ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity used, oats ARE the primary ingredient in our granola bites. The word “super” is an industry term used to describe nutrient dense ingredients, and many of the ingredients in our Granola Bites are very nutrient dense. The word is widely used and is not included in the FDA’s regulated terms (see the link I provided in my comment below). Lastly, we feel great about the nutritional content of our Granola Bites, so much so that we feed them to our own children on a regular basis. We’re sorry you disagree.

          • Carol H.

            oops, lost my reply when doing the other one… I was just commenting that a first-listed ingredient doesn’t always mean it is primary by category. : A product can have 1 cup oats + 1/2 cup honey + 1/2 cup cane sugar + 1/2 cup date paste, and oats will show up first, yes, but the primary ingredient (by category) is sweeteners. This is an illustration… NOT meant to say what is in your products… just responding/clarifying.
            PS: “Nutrient dense” is another implied nutrient content claim. If you use it to describe any ingredient, you must show how that actually translates to at least a “good source” of a Nutrition Facts nutrient for the product..

          • Carol H.

            hmmm… Discus is getting on my nerves… 3rd time posting this.
            1. there is no FDA list of regulated implied claims, since so many promotional terms can be used that way.
            2. A product can have 1 cup oats and 1.5 cups sweeteners (1/2 cup honey + 1/2 cup cane sugar + 1/2 cup date paste) and oats will still show first, even though sweeteners are the primary category of ingredient. That’s just an illustration… not your product, but others do this.
            3.”Nutrient dense” is also an implied nutrient claim if used for any ingredient… you would need to show how that ingredient provides at least a “good source” (10% DV) of a Nutrition Facts nutrient.
            4. Again… I am not judging your ingredients or quality of the product… just the labeling.