NEW YORK, April 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --KIND Healthy Snacks (KIND) is bringing more transparency to the prevalent use of sweeteners in today's popular snack foods. To kick-start the educational journey, KIND – which has long disclosed the sugar in its snacks – today unveiled an augmented reality installation and online database that showcase the multitude of different sweeteners and sugar sources hidden in top-selling snacks.
"There are more than 100 different names and types of sweeteners and sugar sources out there. Many of these are still foreign to me, and there's no doubt that consumers are also confused," says Daniel Lubetzky, Founder & CEO of KIND. "When some of the top-selling snacks many people believe to be healthy have a similar sugar profile as a dessert, that's a problem. People deserve to know what they're eating."
The pop-up display comes at a time when sweeteners and sugar sources are more rampant in snacks than ever. Nearly 75% of packaged foods and drinks in the U.S. contain a sugar or low-calorie sweetener, according to a study in The Lancet.1In a survey2 fielded by Washington DC-based Morning Consult, 41% of respondents say when they read a food label, they don't understand which ingredients are sweeteners.
"While peoples' focus surrounding sweeteners is increasing, there's little understanding of how to identify them on food labels," says Stephanie Csaszar, Registered Dietitian and Health & Wellness Expert at KIND. "How can we expect consumers to know that hydrogenated starch is a mixture of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol or that sucanat is a less-refined version of cane sugar? Through this effort, we aim to bring greater awareness to the 100+ name variations and types of sweeteners and sugar sources found in foods that individuals might not realize they're consuming daily."
For years, snack categories such as energy and snack bars, yogurt, cereal and granola have been perceived as overall healthy destinations, but KIND's pop-up display and online database revealed that many options in those aisles have sweetener content at similar levels to that in desserts & frozen treats. For example, some energy bars are comprised of more than 30% sugar. "Added sweeteners are masters of disguise and most Americans consume too much from all the various forms," says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RDN, California State University, Sacramento. "I teach this to hundreds of my undergraduate students each year as one of my take home points."
The 'Sweeteners Uncovered' pop-up shop will leverage augmented-reality technology to not only highlight the total sugar content of some of America's favorite snacks, but also the obscure sweetener names that they are hiding behind. The installation will be open to the general public at 579 Broadway in SoHo from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST today (4/10) and tomorrow (4/11). The initiative and national index will also be available online at www.sweetenersuncovered.com.
Additional Morning Consult Survey Results
78% of respondents couldn't identify the main difference between sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners
42% of respondents say that it's difficult to determine if a snack contains artificial sweeteners
When asked to name any sweeteners found in food & beverages, 40% of respondents couldn't name any
2004: KIND launched its first products with the KIND promise to always lead with nutrient-dense ingredients, like whole nuts, whole fruits and whole grains as opposed to sugar
2012: KIND first introduced Nuts & Spices bars – which contain 4-5 grams of sugar without any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols
2015: KIND supported a proposal from FDA to include added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel
2015: KIND announced an effort to reduce the sugar in eleven of its Fruit & Nut bars to contain between 14 and 57% less added sugar compared to prior recipes
2016: KIND became first national snack brand to publish the added sugar content across its portfolio on labels, nearly two years in advance of the deadline set by FDA
2017: KIND unveiled first-ever national fruit snack with no added sugar & made only of whole fruit
About KIND Healthy Snacks Since 2004, KIND has been on a mission to make the world a little kinder one snack and act at a time. KIND was born out of its founder's desire to create a snack that was healthy and tasty, wholesome and convenient. What began as a line of premium Fruit & Nut bars sparked the creation of a new healthier snacking category. Today, KIND has a family of more than 80 snacks that offer solutions for a variety of occasions.
Its recipes use nutrient-dense, premium ingredients like nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruit, which are recommended for a healthy diet. All snacks are gluten free, do not contain genetically engineered ingredients and are not sweetened with sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.
Kindness has always been at the core of its business. KIND was founded with a social mission, the KIND Movement, which celebrates and inspires kindness. Today, the Movement is brought to life through the brand and The KIND Foundation. To learn more about KIND, KIND Bars and to join our Movement, visit kindsnacks.com.