Monday, October 4, 2010

When is Jam not Jam?

Shopping in a rush is NEVER a good idea. I was rushing earlier today in the health food store and picked up a jar of Cascadian farm Fruit Spread. Small jar - on sale - organic, how bad can it get? Well, that depends. Had I been in a regular supermarket I would never have put that jar in my cart without checking the ingredient list first. But since I was at the health food store and in a hurry, I didn't bother. Result? I have been duped and upset ever since. The "jam" turns out be more than 50% sugar. Every 19 grams of this jam contains 10 grams of sugar. The first ingredient in my fruit jam is: sugar.
Again, that wouldn't surprise me in a supermarket, mass marketed brand, but with a brand such as "Cascadian Farms" it was a letdown.
So, when is jam not jam? When it is more than 50% pure sugar.
So, I sat down to write them a good old fashioned letter, actually e-mail. Let's see if they will respond.


As a longtime health food store shopper, vegetarian and food writer I wanted to share with you my disappointment when I - without reading the ingredient list first - picked up your Blackberry Fruit Spread. Had I known - should have checked - that the number one ingredient in your Fruit Spread is sugar - even if it is organic, I would never have purchased this product. I forgot to check the label because I simply trusted that a company such as yours would be concerned with the sugar content of its products. In a 19 gram serving more than half is pure sugar!
While I do understand the need to sweeten fruit to make a preserve, especially tart fruits such as berries I am not willing to eat a sugar/fruit half and half concoction. This is is really nothing more than a sugar spread with fruit flavoring where I was expecting it to be the other way around.
I gave it the benefit of doubt and opened it to taste - it is of course way too sweet.
I would understand if that was the only way to make jam - however at least two brands I checked - D'arbo and Bonne Maman are able to make their Blackberry jams without using sugar as the first ingredient.
I took the time to write to you since I feel that you may not realize that your average consumer does read labels and does realize that the first ingredient is the most important.
I will not purchase this product again.
Moni Schifler
I will post this on my food blog: To see if others agree with me.