“ Brand: Floridas Naturalpocket / Type: Other Fruits „
Dried orange is the only kind of dried fruit my son will eat, though technically speaking the kind he likes doesn't really count as dried fruit as the amount of actual orange involved seems negligible. There is a specific brand he likes as a snack, but one day when I was picking a few bits up at Tesco they were out of stock so I picked up the Floridas Naturalpocket Fruit-to-go Nuggets instead.
They are widely available in major supermarkets and come in other flavours like blueberry and strawberry, you can also find them in small juice carton-style packaging in confectionary sections. I think the pouch version which is pictured is slightly expensively priced at my local supermarket where I bought two of the pouches at 99p each.
I bought them because they were sitting in vaguely the same area as some genuinely healthy foods, and the front of the packet said they were organic, and fat free, and contained the equivalent of 68g of fruits per 100g. There is quite a lot of information on the packet which may be so you only notice the headlines and miss the small print. It worked in my case!
They have a shelf-life of about a year, and the pouch has a re-sealable zipper which is a good idea as there are more sweets in the pack than someone would probably eat in one sitting.
The pouch is 51g in weight, and from the nutritional information section I read they contain 172.6 calories and 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. They are gluten free but may contain traces of soy.
The orange nuggets are small and shaped like rectangular tablets. Some of the shapes are slightly irregular, some look like they've melted together in pairs. The outside of the nugget is smooth and hardened enough to keep its shape in the packaging but still soft enough that you could squash it, if you felt so inclined. They may have been glazed, they look powdery.
They taste like pear initially, then the orange taste comes in, and after chewing them for a while they taste like pear again! Sure enough when I checked the ingredient list the first and therefore main ingredients are organic concentrated pear puree, and organic concentrated pear juice, followed by organic concentrated orange juice (3%)! There is an orangey taste to the sweets but when pear features as the main ingredient why not make them pear flavour? The taste is quite tart. The fruit nuggets are chewy and juicy though, I can see why kids would like them. Unfortunately I noticed an unpleasant sour aftertaste in my mouth after eating them.
I have some issues with this product being marketed as a healthy snack, for a start the concentrated fruit purees and juices already contain sugar (and concentrated fruit juice has a higher sugar volume than the real thing) but dextrose and cane sugar have also been added.
My main concern is with the organic claim. The product is made in China and shipped over. Opinions on China's organic standards range from 'not very strict' to 'downright fraudulent'. Critics have said that China doesn't take organic farming seriously, there are more than 20 organic certifying agencies in operation, and lax standards mean that pesticides are still being used. In 2006 Wal-Mart found pesticide traces on organic vegetables from China.
Aside from the organic fruit, the ingredient list also features organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic tapioca starch, organic orange flavouring and organic malt dextrin, all from China. What are the chances that they all meet proper organic standards? On the other hand the packaging features a Soil Association Organic Standard stamp and I've always considered them to be credible. I would like to know if they independently tested the product themselves or just accepted the appropriate paperwork?
I should also mention the choking hazard warning on the packet, they should only be given to children who can easily swallow chewy foods.
Would I recommend them? Kids will like them, but should only have them as a treat like anything else that's full of sugar. They're nowhere near being a substitute for actual fruit. I'm not going to buy them again. There are better ways to get your Vitamin C. I would much rather eat a real orange, and I'd prefer my son to eat a real orange too.