Kind Snacks will cut the added sugar by 15% to 50% in its original Fruit & Nut bar portfolio, including its Apple Cinnamon and Pecan and Almond and Apricots in Yogurt bars, the company announced Nov. 4.
The move was inspired by the firm “constantly challeng[ing] ourselves to enhance our existing snacks” and its “long-standing commitment to making snacks that are as low in sugar as possible without sacrificing taste,” Joe Cohen, senior vice president of communication at KIND Snacks, told FoodNavigator-USA.
He explained that the updated recipe “will be very similar to the original line” but “with a bit less sweetness, and with the taste from the fruit and nuts taking center stage.”
Unlike some other companies that cut sugar by swapping in artificial and low-calorie sweeteners, the Fruit & Nut Bars will remain free from these and free from added sugar alcohols. Rather, Cohen said, the reduction was accomplished by replacing sweetened fruit with unsweetened fruit and reducing added sugar in ingredients like the yogurt coating.
“The sugars that are being reduced did not serve a functional purpose,” Cohen added, explaining, “there are instances where we feel it’s necessary to include sugar, most notably the use of honey, which binds and protects the wholesome ingredients in our nut bars.”
The updated recipe brings the Fruit & Nut Bars more in line with other snacks sold in KIND’s portfolio that have less sugar than some competing nutrition bars, which can pack anywhere form 12 grams to 25 grams of sugar per serving. Specifically, it points to its KIND Nuts & Spices line, which has 5 grams of sugar or less, and its Strong & Kind savory snack line that has less than 6 grams of sugar per bar.
That said, some competitors still beat KIND on low-sugar, including Mediterra’s savory bars, which have 1 to 4 grams of sugar per serving, and Atkins' Harvest Trail Bar, which has 1 gram of sugar per serving and hit store shelves in October.
Sugar reduction underway before FDA’s proposal
Cohen noted that the most recent recipe update has been in the works since late 2014 – long before FDA’s divisive proposal announced in July to include a percent daily value for added sugar in the Nutrition Facts box as a separate line item from sugar.
While some in the industry argue the potential change would confuse consumers, KIND supports FDA’s effort, saying it will “help consumers better understand how much added sugar is in the diet,” Cohen said. It added that the information would be even more useful and accessible to consumers if it was listed in teaspoons, in addition to grams, in the Nutrition Facts box, according to its comments.
The new recipe also could help the firm regain some consumers’ trust after the FDA issued a warning letter earlier this year to KIND that cast a shadow on the firm’s healthy image.