Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gerber Markets Candy as Baby Food

The following article represents why I check labels so closely and why I write to various companies. Through devious marketing strategies, companies like Gerber are able to get away with selling sugary, junk food as nutritious baby food.

"Court Scolds Gerber for Marketing Candy as "Fruit Juice Snacks"

Lawsuit Against Company to Move Forward

WASHINGTON—The Gerber Products Company, owned by Nestleì, has drawn harsh criticism from a U.S. Court of Appeals for using pictures of real fruit to market a gummi-bear-like candy formerly called "Fruit Juice Snacks." The Court said that consumers would likely be deceived because the package depicts images of oranges, cherries and strawberries, though the leading ingredients are corn syrup and sugar.

The case brought against Gerber by a private citizen was initially dismissed by a Federal District Court in California, but then reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on December 22. Gerber argued that consumers could avoid being misled by turning the package around and reading the ingredient list. But the Court stated that consumers should not be "expected to look beyond misleading representations on the front of the box to discover the truth from the ingredient list in small print on the side of the box."

"The Court’s decision is a warning to all companies that try to make junk food look healthy by depicting nutritious fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on the labels of sugary, high-calorie snacks," said Bruce Silverglade, CSPI director of legal affairs.

Gerber has since renamed the product "Juice Treats," but continues to sell it alongside its baby and toddler food instead of at the candy counter. With corn syrup and sugar as the major ingredients, the product contains far more refined sugar than fruit juice concentrate. CSPI will serve as lead counsel when proceedings resume."

If you would like to contact Gerber and let them know how you feel, here is the mailing address:
445 State St.
Fremont, MI 49413-0001

If you would like to send an email or speak with a "Childcare Professional", click here:

Having worked in the television/media industry for 10 years, my husband always says that one person calling/writing represents 1,000. Our input counts!

*I saw these "Juice Treats" at the store, and they are sold right in between different flavors of baby food. I checked the ingredients label and the first two ingredients are corn syrup and sugar.
I can't imagine what that generation of children will be like.


Faith, the Authoress said...

Wow, that is really sad. Then again, it's also sad how much Americans fall for marketing ploys.

Sarah said...

Here is where I will place my confession. My daughter who is 26 months old used to LOVE these. I think she was in the midst of a phase where she would eat nothing and I was trying to find little fruit snacks that a toddler could eat and I grabbed these - most fruit snacks actually have corn syrup as one of it's first ingredients. So I just got these. And then at daycare, she started calling them "snocks" and they were the only thing that made her happy and she used to eat like THREE packs a day and I had so much trouble trying to break the addiction. But she had a cold 2 weeks ago, and ever since, she hasn't liked them. She now, sensibly, prefers those pressed fruit strips made of nothing but fruit. Woo!

My Year Without said...

It is sad! Let's hope that consumers get savvier, especially with so much information at our fingertips!

Wow! That is a very interesting story. Great that your daughter prefers fruit strips now. Thanks for your confession.