HomeConsum-actorsFrùttolo and other milk snacks, 10 products compared

Frùttolo and other milk snacks, 10 products compared

Milk snacks are a constant in the spending of families with children. The proposals on the shelf are numerous and varied betweensweet cheese with (...),milk snack' and 'yogurt with (...)'. We selected 10 to examine their nutritional profiles and the appropriateness of the ingredients, including food additives. Without neglecting the - often controversial - correctness of labels and information to consumers.

Baby-catching milk snacks

The packages they are almost always decorated to attract the attention of children. Colorful puppets and contests to win toys are still the tool of today marketing - in some cases 'predatory', according to UNICEF (2020) - most practiced to retain small consumers. Following i claim, aimed at adults, who declare the absence of unwelcome substances or the presence of elements useful for growth and health. But what's inside?

The broad category of the 'milk snacks' includes very different products, although apparently similar and placed in the same refrigerator space of the supermarket. At prices ranging from 6 to over 9 euros per kg (or liter) there are more or less creamy yoghurt, mixes of fresh cheese and fruit puree or cocoa, puddings. In some cases, even chocolates are added. In 4 cases, vitamin D is added to support the immune system (see table).

The comparison

The comparison focuses on some parameters:

- the energy value, which in the 10 products varies between 54 and 154,8 kcal per serving,

- the quantity of sugars, included in a range 6 to 20,9 grams,

- the addition of additives, very often problematic especially for children. Later we will see in detail the additives present in the 10 milk snacks.

Consumer information it is also considered. Regarding the origin of the milk, which is not declared and is presumably foreign in 7 out of 10 cases, as revealed by the 'health stamp' (see image below). In addition to noting some omissions on the composition of the primary ingredient e claim of dubious legitimacy.

Fruttolo
The health stamp on a pack of Frùttolo

The various Frùttolo

The most famous brand and advertised for decades is undoubtedly Frùttolo. The cheese and fruit mix was launched in Italy by Nestlé in 1984. Today it is marketed by Lactalis Nestlé Prodotti Freschi Italia Srl, a between Lactalis and Nestlè specializing in ultra fresh products which also manages fresh products under the Zymil, Parmalat, Kyr and Malù brands. In addition to the Mio brand, included in our selection.

Under the name Frùttolo very different products actually travel. From a light cream cheese mix to a sweetened yogurt. In all cases, however, there is no indication of the components of the main ingredient. Although the site websites company, but not also the label, highlightswith live lactic ferments'.

Another anomaly on the label is the denomination 'Light fresh cheese'justified by the words '20% fat based on dry matter'. (1)

Unsuitable for children under 4

claim on the label they speak for themselves. The 'standard' Frùttolo boasts the absence of preservatives, dyes and gluten. In the 'DUO' version, which instead contains the discussed carmine dye (E120), in addition to various thickeners, the claim decrease. In the three Frùttolo products, calories range from 54 to 155 per serving, sugars from 6 to 18g. Additives are always present and the origin of milk is always foreign.

For younger children Frùttolo with Smarties is unsuitable. In addition to the widespread presence of additives, the inclusion of chocolates poses a serious risk. The company takes shelter with an illegible warning, reported in lower case in a curved text, which reads:

'Young children (under the age of 4) have limited chewing ability and may choke on small foods'.

A snack pudding

Customers less accustomed to industrial extravagances, they might find the idea of ​​having a pudding as a snack instead of a dessert anomalous.

And yet 'MUU MUU the milk snack with stains' tears up any tradition. The product is from Cameo, of the German Oetker group. Contains various additives, thickeners and artificial flavors. 132 calories and 14 g of sugar per serving. The origin of the milk is not specified, but the health mark refers to processing in Germany.

Super Mario. Yogurt, sugar and chocolates

Super Mario Yogoso is the milk snack of the French multinational Danone. It is a sweetened yogurt paired with smarties-like chocolates. An imitation of Frùttolo that adds Nestlé's most famous Smarties. The presence of the 'sugared almonds' involves a nice mix of additives, including the dreaded E120 dye. In addition to the risk of suffocation for the little ones, as already mentioned.

Also in this case, no information on the country of origin of the milk. The 'health stamp' instead indicates the transformation in Spain. 153 kcal and 20,9 grams of sugar per serving.

Yomino from Granarolo

Nutritional profile rather balanced (74 calories and 10g of sugars per serving) and a fairly clear label - without prejudice to the boast of characteristics common to the category to which it belongs - they qualify the Yomino yogurt by Granarolo well.

No preservatives, dyes, flavors and thickeners, the yogurt of the very Italian Granarolo group from Bologna, active for 60 years, is made with milk Made in Italy. With the further more shelf life for 4 hours out of the refrigerator.

Plasmon, the yogurt for early childhood

Come da tradizione Plasmon yogurt, a brand of the US group Kraft-Heinz, is additive-free. 99 kcal and 14g of sugars per serving, with Italian milk and 4-hour shelf life out of the fridge. It is suitable for children from 6 months onwards.

The baby food industry with a plant in Latina, Lazio, it does not need prize competitions or comic strips on the label. It is the only one, in the sample always declared gluten-free, to carry the brand gluten free with the crossed ear certified by AIC (Italian Celiac Association). And the quality of the ingredients is guaranteed by the historic Plasmon standard 'Oasis in growth'.

Mio, the snack for infants with additive

Another yogurt which is proposed in advertising as suitable for early childhood nutrition is the Mio by Nestlé. With 115 calories and 16g of sugars it comes in claim on the label as '100% ingredients of natural origin'. However, he does add an additive in the recipe, guar gum E412.

As for other products of the same multinational, the composition of the yogurt is unknown, as is the origin of the milk, obviously foreign.

Actimel Play, fermented milk of unknown origin

The sweetened fermented milk Actimel Play by Danone is without dyes and preservatives, but with an additive (E331). It provides 71 calories and 11g of sugars per serving and contains added probiotics.

The origin of milk, as usual, it is unknown. The health mark refers to its origin, Belgium or Spain. It can be kept up to 4 hours out of the fridge.

Nesquik shake, calories and sugar in abundance

Another snack milk-based with cocoa is Nestlé's Nesquik Shake. The drink is quite caloric: 138 kcal and 18,2g of sugar per serving.

Without additives it can be kept up to 4 hours out of the fridge. Origin of milk unknown.

MILK SNACKS COMPARISON

A load of additives

The additives 7 out of 10 products are added. Some of them - even if authorized in the EU for the intended uses - are debated in the scientific community. With particular regard to their intake in children who, through different food matrices, can come close to the acceptable daily dose (ADI) where foreseen.

The evaluation of additives is based on the information reported by the Altroconsumo database and by the opinions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). On the other hand, the synthetic aromas present in two products (Frùttolo Maxi Duo and Super Mario Yogoloso) are not evaluated.

For two additives - guar gum and locust bean gum - there is also an additional risk: the possible contamination by ethylene oxide, a mutagenic, carcinogenic and toxic pesticide for reproduction, at the center of a global emergency, as we have seen.

E461 methylcellulose

Methylcellulose it is used as a thickener, gelling agent, stabilizer or even as a coating agent. It thickens liquids and forms a jelly when heated. It then allows the ice creams to melt more slowly. Its excessive consumption can cause intestinal discomfort such as diarrhea. It is added in Super Mario Yogoloso.

E412 - Guar gum

In high doses, guar gum can cause intestinal disorders (bloating, flatulence, laxative effect). Rare allergic reactions (mainly asthma and rhinitis) have been reported. As with locust bean gum, some studies suggest less absorption of vitamins and minerals that would be trapped by the viscous web formed by guar gum polysaccharides. Conversely, other studies have suggested a positive effect on reducing blood cholesterol levels. It is added to Frùttolo milk snacks and Mio creamy yogurt.

E410, carob seed flour

In relation to consumption of E410 cases of allergic reactions (mainly asthma and rhinitis) have been reported. At high doses of consumption they cause intestinal disorders (bloating, flatulence, laxative effect). Finally, some studies suggest a lower absorption of minerals that would be trapped by the viscous net formed by the carob seed flour. Particular attention should be paid to children and infants with gastrointestinal reflux. These children should in fact follow a specific diet and tend to be more exposed to the side effects mentioned above (diarrhea, flatulence). It is found in the Frùttolo Maxi Duo.

E415 - Xanthan gum

As for the other tires, gastrointestinal discomfort can be caused by heavy consumption or by combination with other gums (bloating, flatulence, laxative effect). It is found in the Frùttolo Maxi Duo.

E120 - Carminic acid, carmine

This dye is obtained from cochineal (Dactylopius coccus costs), a parasitic insect of cacti. Scientific literature indicates some risks associated with allergenic extraction residues (insect protein materials). You can do without it and EFSA itself recommends limiting its consumption, given the possible risk of respiratory and food allergies. E120 is also suspected of promoting hyperactivity in children. It is added to Danone's Frùttolo Maxi Duo and Super Mario Yogoloso milk snacks

E407 - Carrageenan

Several studies show a link between degraded carrageenans and the onset of colon cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies degraded carrageenans as a possible carcinogen (group 2B). The milk snack with stains is added to MUU MUU.

E322 - Lecithin

The lecithins they are mainly extracted from soy. People sensitive to this allergen should avoid the consumption of soy lecithins, as the possibility that they are contaminated by soy protein fractions cannot be ruled out. Sunflower lecithins are added in Frùttolo Smarties, soy lecithins are added in Super Mario Yogoloso.

E100 - Curcumin

Curcumin is a natural yellow color widely used by the food industry in soft drinks, confectionery or snack products. It is possible for children to exceed the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 3 mg / kg body weight. It is found in Frùttolo Smarties and Super Mario Yogoloso.

E414 - Gum arabic

As with other tires, rare allergies have been observed. Likewise, gastrointestinal discomfort can be caused by heavy consumption or by combining it with other gums (bloating, flatulence, laxative effect). It is in the Super Mario Yogoloso.

E141 - Complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins with copper

The European Authority for food safety (EFSA) considered that the toxicological data provided during the re-evaluation of E141 were too limited to define an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). The Authority also hopes that chlorophyll-based additives will be better characterized, as some of their components are undesirable.

The chlorophylls prepared from alfalfa could be rich in compounds with allergenic and estrogenic potential, for example, and more generally the raw material is not regulated regarding the maximum levels of possible contaminants, such as pesticides, mycotoxins and other toxic elements (arsenic, lead , mercury and cadmium), highlighted EFSA in its 2015 opinion. (1) E141 is used in Super Mario Yogoloso.

E331 - Sodium citrates

It is produced through the controlled fermentation of a mushroom (Aspergillus niger). It is an acidity regulator commonly used in soft drinks. Its consumption can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to molds, but such reactions are rare. However it should be remembered that Aspergillus niger can produce mycotoxins.

This additive it also damages the teeth, especially among heavy consumers of carbonated drinks, children (in primis). E331 is added to the Actimel Play milk snack

Marta Strinati

Footnotes

(1) Fruttolo, light fresh cheese? The lawyer Dario Dongo answers. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements). 19.9.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/archivio-notizie/domande-e-risposte/fruttolo-formaggio-fresco-leggero-risponde-l-avvocato-dario-dongo

(2) EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources (ANS). Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of chlorophylls (E 140 (i)) added to Food as food additives. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy 2015. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4089

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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