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Could purees clear FDA’s new ‘added sugar’ hurdle?

Fruit purees are emerging as a viable solution for US food companies as they work towards complying with challenging new rules on the labelling of sugar. The FDA introduced new labelling regulations in 2016 and the compliance date of January 1, 2020 for these is looming large. The soon-to-be-implemented rules will mean that manufacturers and brands will be required to declare ‘added sugar’ in addition to the standard total sugars on nutrition facts panels – even if some of those sugars are added by way of fruit juice powders or concentrates.1

Implementation is staggered, with large companies obliged to meet the requirements by January 1, 2020 date, and smaller businesses by 2021. But the change is already forcing businesses to re-think how they formulate their products, in order to avoid the negative perception associated with added sugar.

However, a simple solution is at hand, in the form of fruit purees, says Welch’s Global Ingredients Group. Purees are not included in the definition of added sugar and therefore the fruit sugars naturally present in purees only need to be included in the total sugars declaration.

Power to purees

“Purees deliver natural sweetness, but their sugar content isn’t considered to be added sugar by FDA,” said Kevin Kilcoyne, VP & General Manager at Welch’s Global Ingredients Group. “This means they offer a good option for food companies who prefer not to see added sugar on their nutrition facts panels or wish to minimise the amount of added sugars they are obliged to declare.”

Manufacturers will still be able to use fruit juice concentrates or powders. However, they will need to declare some of the sugar contributed by these ingredients as added sugar, depending on the final application. FDA regulations stipulate that the portion of sugar above what would normally be found in an equivalent volume of 100% juice must be labelled as added sugar. The calculations involved in establishing this often need to be carried out manually – a cumbersome and costly process. Using purees and puree concentrates means companies can avoid this extra burden.

1https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm535371.htm

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