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.
E-mail:

Hello!

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.
Sincerely,
Moni Schifler
I will post this on my food blog: To see if others agree with me.

12 comments:

vegmommy said...

I agree you shouldn't have to worry about unhealthy food in a health food store. But having said that, the real issue is knowing the right quick look words.

Jam and Jelly are always a no. They are simply a fruit Product.
Healthy suggestion, crush your own fruit, or for jarred, which most kids respond to positively, the quick look words are "100% fruit spread." Ex. Polaner All Fruit. This truly is fruit, concentrate juices and natural flavors.

Enjoy.

Teresa Griffin said...

I agree that fruit flavored sugar spread is not real food. Yay for writing to the company! Yay for blogging about it!

On a related note, yay, you for making this blog! I just discovered it yesterday and I'm already trying to talk my husband into trying homemade toothpaste. You are awesome!

Musings, Meanings, & Eatings said...

Love this! So much hidden sugar in so many 'healthy' products... This is a great blog, thank you!!!

Healthy Home Market said...

I also agree that you should be able to trust products marketed as "health" food, unfortunately that is just not the case. Most of our health food companies have been bought up by larger companies who are only interested in the profits generated by the "green" wave, rather than the health of their consumers and the planet. Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills and we all know the wealth of sugary products that they offer.
Having said that, writing the company was a good move. We have to speak up for ourselves and let them know that we are not going to have the wool pulled over our eyes!

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