This is a guest blog post by Carol Harvey, Director of food/nutrition labeling and product development at Palate Works.
Dark chocolate! Goji! Flavanols! Antioxidants! Real fruit juice!
With candy like this, who needs real food?
If only those terms meant something. Or were at least accurate. In the case of Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry they don’t/aren’t. This is surprising, given that the brand is owned by Hershey Co., a company with an ample sized legal and nutrition team for its 60 plus brands.
Here are 7 things that don’t add up about this product:
1. “Dark Chocolate”: If it contains milk (which this product does), it really isn’t dark chocolate.
2. “Goji”: There are no goji berries in this product. But it’s apparently fine to simply state “goji” when what’s really inside is goji juice concentrate. The concentrate is, of course, devoid of just about all the nutrients found in the fresh berries, except for sugar?
3. “With raspberries”: Actually, it should be “Raspberry fruit juice concentrate with goji fruit juice concentrate” as there is more raspberry concentrate than goji and no whole fruit of either kind.
4. “Natural source of flavanol antioxidants”: Since there is no FDA defined Daily Value for flavanol antioxidants, there can be no claim about a food having an implied (good) source of them. And even if there were, the amount contained in this product (55 mg per 23 gram package) is tiny compared to most dark chocolate bars.
5. Vitamin C is added (10% DV): This allows a “good source of antioxidants” claim, but it is not a “natural source” and certainly is not coming from the prominently (mis)advertised fruits, which are only adding sugar and a little flavor.
6. Fiber is <1 gram per serving: Another clue that there is very little dark chocolate or real fruit here.
7. Only 100 calories: This is simply because the serving size is smaller than the 40 g standard for this kind of food item. It was packaged at 23 g in order to get down to the 100-calorie mark. A true FDA serving would provide about 175 calories (in case you want to compare with products that use the standard serving size for this kind of candy).
What say you? Will the Easter Health Bunny fall for this?
Carol Harvey has been a nutrition labeling and product development consultant for over 15 years. She can be reached at palatemail [AT] yahoo [DOT] com.