Looking At Food & Ingredient Labels

Looking At Food & Ingredient Labels

Mar 15, '22

With many companies focused on surviving the pandemic, a few items have slipped in under our collective consumer radar. 

Changes in FDA Labeling

Back in 2019 (a long, long, time ago…) the FDA had set a deadline for new food & beverage regulations that would require most manufacturers to change the Nutrition Labels on their packaging.  For larger manufacturers (Over $10mm in sales), the change was to happen by January 1, 2020. In order to give smaller producers more time, the FDA did add an extension to 2021 – but by mid-last year – most packaging you saw in your grocery store had the updated label.  Here’s an example from the FDA website:

FDA, Label. FDA appoved

 

While many manufacturers complain of making changes, this particular update was something that Sunrise Fresh applauded. Why?  Because of the new call out for ‘Added Sugars’ – anything that is not included in the food or drinks ‘naturally’. 

 

“The label changes have been on our radar for a few years, and as a company, we opted to make the change before the FDA made it for us” commented Jake Samuel, Sunrise Fresh CEO, “Since we produce a ‘no sugar added’ product, we started to see larger companies making the transition to our cherries over the last few years. The big change came in 2020 when a lot of producers took a hard look at their formulas and made the change. And we’re talking about major snack and cereal producers, not just a single item like chocolate-covered cherries.”

 

 

Much of this new interest is because all of our Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruits are unsweetened.  They contain No-added Sugars or sweeteners of any kind (like sucrose, stevia, or pear juice). They also lack any kind of ‘aftertaste’ like so many other plant-based sweeteners like Stevia and Monkfruit can produce. 

 

Naturally Occurring Sugars

And yes, there are naturally occurring sugars in fruits – that’s what makes a lot of them ‘sweet’ but they are all-natural and only in the quantity that you would have if you picked them off the tree! All you consume is the natural sweetness that occurs in the fruit whether it is raw, cooked, or dried.  These naturally occurring sugars also digest differently in the body, so that is an added plus.  Beyond that, there are plenty of ‘Healthy’ positioned products out there that contain lots of added ‘sugars’!

In case you weren’t aware, a large portion of the Sunrise Fresh business is producing dried fruits for use as ingredients in other products.  We produce them for distributors, wholesalers, and directly to major manufacturers – so there’s a good chance you’ve eaten our dried fruits even if you’ve never purchased an individual package!

Dried fruit

All of these firms in the industry are acutely aware of the labeling changes – and what this was going to mean to the production of their or their customer’s products – and one thing that no one wants on their label is a high amount in that “Added Sugars” box!

 

Combine the rising awareness of labels that consumers had pre-pandemic with a closer look that they’ve been taking since COVID hit – and you have a lot of producers looking for ways to add taste and sweetness to their products – without Added Sugars and strange-sounding additives – that may add even some unwanted ‘taste’ into the offerings.

 

A Cleaner Way to Create Taste

So what have they found?   They’ve found that they can reach their taste profiles by using Sunrise Fresh dried fruits in place of other ingredients.  An example: you will find dried cranberries in a number of granolas and energy bars.  Cranberries are great fruits – but they are super-sour in their natural state, whether raw or dried.  So, in order to make them edible, sugar – usually in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup is added to them.  Yes, using this in a granola or baking mix will give you a sweet taste, but it’s not the cranberry providing it!

Granola bar, Dried Fruits

This means that major food manufacturers are trying to ‘clean’ their labels and eliminate as much added sugars as possible – and that means substituting items like Cranberries, Tart Cherries, and Pomegranates with Sweet Dried Cherries – and Sunrise Fresh can provide them, consistently, year-round to the specifications required by the manufacturer – all with no-added sugars or anything else!

 

So, next time you are looking at the label on your favorite packaged foods, be sure to check out the label – and look to see if it includes ‘Added Sugars’ and how that ‘sugar’ is added.  Then look for items that contain Dried Sweet Cherries and other fruits that don’t require added sweetening – and you’ll probably find some Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruits!  “Just the Fruit … And Nothing Else.”