NEW YORK — Kind Healthy Snacks has launched Sweeteners Uncovered, an augmented reality pop-up shop and online database that exposes the sweeteners and sugars hidden in top-selling snacks. The installation was open to the general public in New York’s Soho neighborhood April 10-11.
The initiative and database are also available online.
The pop-up aims to increase consumer awareness of the amounts of sugar contained in everyday snacks. Seventy-eight percent of consumers said they don’t know the main difference between sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, according to a study conducted by Kind and Morning Star, a New York-based research firm. Additionally, 42% said that it’s difficult to determine if a snack contains artificial sweeteners at all. When asked to list sweeteners found in food and beverages, 40% of consumers couldn’t name any.
“There are more than 100 different names and types of sweeteners and sugar sources out there,” said Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of Kind. “Many of these are still foreign to me, and there’s no doubt that consumers are also confused. When some of the top-selling snacks many people believe to be healthy have a similar sugar profile as a dessert, that’s a problem. People deserve to know what they’re eating.”
Kind has spent the past few years working toward this sugar-conscious initiative. In 2015, the brand reduced the sugar in 11 of its Fruit & Nut bars, and in 2017, unveiled its first fruit snack with no added sugar. Most recently, in March 2019, Kind filed a citizen petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update its nutrient content claim regulation—the list of claims that can be used on food and dietary supplement labels.
“While peoples’ focus surrounding sweeteners is increasing, there’s little understanding of how to identify them on food labels,” said Stephanie Csaszar, registered dietitian and health and wellness expert for Kind. “How can we expect consumers to know that hydrogenated starch is a mixture of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol or that sucanat is a less-refined version of cane sugar? Through this effort, we aim to bring greater awareness to the 100-plus name variations and types of sweeteners and sugar sources found in foods that individuals might not realize they’re consuming daily.”
New York-based Kind manufactures products made from whole ingredients, including Kind Fruit & Nut, Kind Nuts & Spices, Kind Healthy Grains Bars and Kind Healthy Grains Clusters.