Types of fruits and vegetables used in commercial baby foods and their contribution to sugar content

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Garcia, Ada Lizbeth ; McLean, Kimberley ; Wright, Charlotte M. (2016)

Fruits and vegetables (F&V) are often featured in names of commercial baby foods (CBFs). We aimed to survey all available CBFs in the UK market with F&V included in the food name in order to describe the amount and types of F&V used in CBF and their contribution to total sugar content. Food labels were used to identify F&V and total sugar content. Fruits were more common than vegetables in names of the 329 CBFs identified. The six most common F&V in the names were all relatively sweet: apple, banana, tomato, mango, carrot and sweet potato. The percentage of F&V in the foods ranged from a median of 94% for sweet-spoonable to 13% for dry-savoury products. Fruit content of sweet foods (n = 177) was higher than vegetable content of savoury foods (n = 152) with a median (IQR) of 64.0 g/100 g (33.0–100.0) vs. 46.0 g/100 g (33–56.7). Fruit juice was added to 18% of products. The proportion of F&V in CBF correlated significantly with sugar content for all the food types except dry-savoury food (sweet-spoonable r = 0.24, P = 0.006; savoury-spoonable r = 0.65, P < 0.001; sweet-dry r = 0.81, P < 0.001; savoury-dry r = 0.51, P = 0.06) and explained up to two-thirds of the variation in sugar content. The F&V content of CBFs mainly consists of fruits and relatively sweet vegetables which are unlikely to encourage preferences for bitter-tasting vegetables or other non-sweet foods. F&V contribute significantly to the total sugar content, particularly of savoury foods.
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