Jessica is addicted to Gushers. There, I said it. Her horrible secret is out (sorry!). Each week after I shop at the Farmer’s Market, with my car filled with fresh fruits and veggies, I drive over to the supermarket and sneak down that isle to satisfy her cravings. This week was like every other, looking through all the brightly colored packaging for the one that makes her happy, when I saw them.
That’s right, Fruit Roll-Ups has a new “healthy” version. I took a look at the box and I was pretty shocked, it was actually something I would be happy letting a child eat. It contained no corn syrup, had some fiber, no artificial colorings, etc. I decided to get them so I could do a review, but I had a little problem. I hadn’t eaten a Fruit Roll-up since I was a kid, so I had to actually purchase a “normal” one for a comparison. I looked for a normal strawberry and the one I purchased was the closest they had. So… let’s compare, shall we?
You’ll note that all the packaging is very simple and is mainly greens and whites, compared to the XTREME™ packaging of the original. The other thing you’ll notice is that there is a complete difference in the color and texture between the two products. The Simply Fruit resembles the old dark and rough fruit leather while the regular Roll-Up resembles some sort of neon plastic. A quick breakdown of the ingredients:
Standard: Pears from Concentrate, Corn Syrup, Dried Corn Syrup, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil. Contains 2% or Less of: Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Acetylated Mono and Diglycerides, Fruit Pectin, Malic Acid, Natural Flavor, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Color (red 40, yellows 5 & 6, blue 1).
Simply Fruit: Apple Juice Concentrate, Dried Apples, Strawberry Puree, Canola Oil. Contains 2% or Less of: Fruit Pectin, Lemon Juice Concentrate and Blueberry Juice Concentrate Added for Color, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Natural Flavor, Sodium Sulfite and Citric Acid Added to Protect Color.
That is a huge difference between the two, don’t you think? The funny thing is that the nutrition values pretty much remained the same with no change in the size of the roll. Both are 14 grams and have 50 calories. The Simply Fruit has .5g less fat, 35mg less sodium, 3g more sugars, <1g more fiber. That’s it. Besides that, they are identical in “core” nutrition.
So, as a parent, I’d like to think if you were to buy your child Fruit Roll-Ups you would buy them these. I would have to say “good job” to whoever at General Mills decided to pursue this avenue of children’s snacks. Oh! One last thing… the taste! While the standard Fruit Roll tastes like a very sweet dose of artificial strawberry flavoring, the Simply Fruit tastes like fruit. Not 100% like Strawberries (though you get that), but more like a blend of fruits (I assume this is due to the apple concentrate and dried apples). I decided to let Jess try them and even she said she’d choose the new stuff over the old. Shocking!
Now then, I want you to listen up, General Mills: Please make a “Simply Fruit” version of Gushers, so I can feel better about her addiction. Thanks! Everyone else with little kids who clamor for Fruit Roll-Ups: Go get these instead.