exposing misleading claims & hidden ingredients

 

We love real foods. That’s why every KIND product leads with a nutrient-dense ingredient: whole nuts, whole grains or whole fruit.

We celebrate the importance of real ingredients. But we know that today’s foods have a long list of unrecognizable ingredients and the food industry hasn’t always made it easy to understand what you’re eating.

We want to help people know what they’re eating by drawing attention to misleading claims on unhealthy products and hidden ingredients in everyday foods:

• Nutrient content claims can be used to highlight beneficial nutrients of a food, without requiring that you actually speak to the whole nutrient profile of the food. We feel that dressing up empty calorie products by emphasizing a singular nutrient (like protein or fiber), versus the overall quality of the food, is unfair to consumers when they’re just trying to eat healthfully. Unfortunately, the current regulation allows for it – looking at the quantity of a nutrient instead of the quality of the overall food – enabling food marketers to put these claims on unhealthy products. In partnership with the foremost health and nutrition experts, we filed a Citizen Petition urging the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to update this regulation and increase label transparency.

• The consumption of dyes has increased more than 5-fold since the 1950s i and as a result, 43% of foods marketed to children now contain synthetic dyes. We are concerned that American kids are becoming more accustomed to eating foods that are artificially colorful and less likely to enjoy or try real foods. So, we created a public installation of test-tubes containing 2,000 gallons of synthetic dyes ii – the amount of dye American children roughly consume each day iii. We hoped to not only highlight the excess use of synthetic dyes in obvious culprits – like cereals and sugary beverages – but also unexpected, seemingly-healthy foods, like fruit snacks, yogurt and applesauce.

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CSPI. Seeing Red. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest; 2016.

ii SAGE Journal. Prevalence of Artificial Food Colors in Grocery Store Products Marketed to Children. 2014. The research team collected product and food-color information about 810 products in one grocery store in North Carolina in 2014. Overall, 350 products (43.2%) contained AFCs.

iii SAGE Journal. Amounts of Artificial Food Dyes and Added Sugars in Foods and Sweets Commonly Consumed by Children. 2014.; Memorandum from a nutritionist, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Division of Consumer Studies, to TJ Sobotka, Biochemical Toxicology Branch, FDA. July 30, 1976. Cited in Swanson JM, Kinsbourne M. Food dyes impair performance of hyperactive children on a laboratory learning test. Science. 1980; 207(4438):1485–7.: