With Candy Like This, Who Needs Real Food?

Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji

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.

Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji Ingredients5. 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.

Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji Nutrients6. 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.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.puett.7 Sharon Puett

    LOL, I get a chuckle every time I buy a bag of these. I know that the front of the package claims are are total BS, but I love them anyway. The only reason I tried them in the first place was that they were the closest thing to chocolate covered Jelly Bellies I could find at Target to quiet a craving. :-)

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com/ GiGi Eats Celebrities

    And the grocery store trickery continues!

  • Brian Klein

    At family gatherings, someone usually brins a dark chocolate covered trendy fruit in a big bag from Costco saying: “At least it’s healthier than the alternative.” Well, not really. It’s best to just be honest with yourself. Don’t fool yourself by thinking it’s actually a little better for you. Tell yourself you are going to have some candy, limit the intake as much as possible, and call it a day. Marketers are very clever in that they are convincing people that they are actually helping themselves by eating junk food.

  • The Candid RD

    I’m so glad you posted this. Wonderful. I can’t stand when I see one word claims on packages, that mean nothing, “VITAMIN C!” “ACAI!”….uhh, ok? What about them?! So lame. And most often, it works.

  • jadedserf

    We need more discussions like these about these deceptively labeled “edibles”. Finding this honest discussion among the host of blogomercials was like finding the ever illusive needle in an obscenely huge haystack..

    Why take on such a task? Because I too was suckered. I assumed that I would enjoy a healthy new snack whose contents matched the package promise. I saw the lovely label and pictures of fresh picked perfectly grown blueberries and dark chocolate and believed. I began to suspect some deception soon after eating these snacks and feeling sick.

    This stuff is overpriced, mass produced, peddled, packaged pebbles of sweetened, hydrolyzed toxic crap.

  • jadedserf

    We need more discussions like these about these deceptively labeled “edibles”. Finding this honest discussion among the host of blogomercials was like finding the ever illusive needle in an obscenely huge haystack..

    Why take on such a task? Because I too was suckered. I assumed that I would enjoy a healthy new snack whose contents matched the package promise. I saw the lovely label and pictures of fresh picked perfectly grown blueberries and dark chocolate and believed. I began to suspect some deception soon after eating these snacks and feeling sick.

    This stuff is overpriced, mass produced, peddled, packaged pebbles of sweetened, hydrolyzed toxic crap.

  • Jennifer

    It is good to have this information, but I don’t blame the companies or grocery stores any more than I blame a tiger for hunting prey. For me, it always comes back to taking responsibility individually to be wise and thoughtful consumers. If it seems too good to be true it likely is. I say this as someone taken in occasionally, by such products as the Green Coffee Bean for weight loss….oye. By the same token, some of the alarmist information about one food item being unhealthy have turned out to be without merit (evil eggs and coffee for another) so I think if we get into blaming there is plenty to be shared on all sides of the discussion, it comes down to gathering information and making a decision that makes sense to the individual. I appreciate this information and discussion.