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Added sugar in dried fruit



For many years, I’ve been buying Woolworths Select dried cranberries. Other brands I noticed had total sugars well over 70%, but the Select was only 30%. Even so, it had sugar added.

Recently, I noticed that Select has been replaced by something labelled Sweetened & tart. The price is the same, but the sugar content has risen to 54.5%.

If I bought the new product, I’d be getting less fruit for my dollars. The price of dried fruits rises with their sugar content, it seems to me. Just how much are we paying for added sugar?


I wonder what the non-sugar carbohydrates (presumably starches) are? How did they drop from 49% to 12.2% comparing the yellow to grey product? Looking at other products the non-sugar carbs in the yellow product look anomalous and the grey more typical.

The grey product has about 10% less fibre which suggest less fruit. The grey sample carefully doesn’t tell us the ingredients, so we are in the dark about what went into it. Or did you cut off the ingredient list for the grey product? It looks like some more added sugar but it’s hard to say how much. The fat is apparently oil added to stop them sticking together as admitted in the yellow product. I can’t think why the salt content doubled but that is a trivial amount. The moisture seems to have changed a fraction.

The content of sweetened dried cranberries varies in other reported analyses, the product seems something of a lucky dip. If it is important to you I would look for a brand that is upfront about the ingredients.

Other similar products are 50-70% total sugar. So the yellow product looks very odd to me, I cannot tell without more data but I wonder if 30% sugar in the yellow product was a reporting error and all along it was actually much more? If so this would account for both the anomalies in sugar and apparent non-sugar carbs.


I agree that 30% sugar seems anomalously low. Looking at a packet of Ocean Spray “Craisins” (dried cranberries) given to us recently, they are 83% total carbs and 65% sugar. Ingredients are listed as 61% cranberries, sugar (presumably 39% added sugar). They don’t actually taste all that sweet, and I’ve eaten almost half the packet while typing this post… close to 50g of sugar = ~1000kJ. That isn’t a concern though, as I returned from a 10000kJ expended mountain bike ride a few hours ago.

They also have 375mg/100g of Phenolic Antioxidants! Not mentioned on the packet, but surely that means they are a Soooperfood! :smirk:


The other thing is the protein should be relatively consistent, but for the yellow pack is significantly less than the other.

A reason for this may be moisture content. A drier product can have higher protein (and sugar) contents than a leas dry product as the concentration is measured by 100gm of fhe bagged product.

Maybe the yellow product was moister or had comparably more oil than the other package. If the product is drier, the oil would have a higher nutritional impact as far as concentration goes.

If is hard to know unless one knows all the final product specifications such as moisture and % other ingredients added.


FWIW, this is what I ended up with. Reduced Sugar Craisins.

So I’ve gone from 69% fruit to 61%, at a higher price.

I couldn’t find one on the packet. I was taking images of stock on the shelf with my smartphone, so I might have missed it.

Cranberries are notoriously tart. I was originally sent out to buy some for the cook. I came back with the low-sugar Select and cook complained that they had too much flavour. She had to add extra sugar to get the desired taste.

Anyway, my question remains: how much are we being charged for added sugar?


Is it by volume or by weight?

If the cranberries were drier in the 61% pack, you could perceivably have more in that pack if the percentage is by weight. There may be more added sugar by wiehgt in this case, but there could also be more added cranberries.


As my previous said, the situation is unclear. An added complication is that the weight of components doesn’t add up to 100%. Is the balance due to varying amounts of water or something else not recorded? Looking at what we see so far I come to no conclusion about the amount or cost of added sugar.


This UN Standard indicates that dried cranberries may have a moisture content of 19-30%.

This is a wide range and could even be more from different suppliers and also different plant varieties.

The moisture content could have a significant impact on the final nutritional information.


Assuming there isn’t a standard, you’d need to ask the manufacturers.

As the labels are mostly in grams, probably weight.


In that final panel it also had added dietary fibre (Soluble Gluco Fibre) which took the fibre percentage from 6-7% to 25%. This fibre was likely an indigestible complex sugar like Inulin but would perhaps for the panel still be treated as a sugar as well as a fibre as when adding total carbs to dietary fibre you get a total of 102g (which is a difference from the quoted 100g quantity). The packet also notes that sunflower oil was used in the processing but 0g of fat was then noted on the panel. In toto the figures are somewhat rubbery.

So Sweetened Dried Cranberries

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 100 g

Amount Per Serving
kJ from Fat   48.1 kJ
Total kJ      1290 kJ
                                                   % Daily Values*
Total Fat                       1.25g 	                2%
  	Saturated Fat          0.129g 	                1%
  	Polyunsaturated Fat    0.822g (Fat breakdown figures are from another 
  	Monounsaturated Fat    0.247g 	 source so accuracy is not so good)
Cholesterol                       0mg 	                0%
Sodium                            3mg 	                0%
Potassium                        40mg 	 
Total Carbohydrate             82.50g 	               27%
  	Dietary Fiber            5.0g 	               23%
  	Sugars                    65g 	 
Protein                         0.07g 	 
Vitamin A 0% 	Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1% 	Iron 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 8400 kJ diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your kilojoule needs.

Unsweetened Dried Cranberries are rare as hen’s teeth but they are naturally low in sugar as a whole fruit. The values per 100 g is total Carbohydrates 10.91 g and of this sugar is 3.64 g. The dietary fibre is 3.6 g.

If no dietary fibre was added to the dried Cranberries you could then calculate that the fruit has been dried by about 52% of it’s original weight so sugars would closely align with those figures giving a total of about 7% sugar. This would mean that around 57 g per 100 g is added sugar.


That’s a hell of a lot. A lady friend was told to take cranberries for health reasons. The daily dose was 30 grams.

Where did those figures come from? Every account I’ve seen says that cranberries are a “good source” (whatever that means) of vitamin C.


"For claims to the effect that a food is a good source of a vitamin or mineral, the reference
quantity of that food must contain no less than 25% of the RDI or ESADDI for the vitamin or
mineral. "

The definition is here


Others have different definitions, it seems.

Still, cranberries with 0% vitamin C would be pretty peculiar:



United States Department of Agriculture Information is for non branded ie Cranberries tested by a Laboratory,%20UPC:%20792186096525

I quoted 100g figures so it could be standardised eg if eating 30g you could adjust to give outcomes for that amount.


Yes fresh the Vitamin C content could be high, but when foods are dried usually through heating (either sun dried or kiln dried), the vitamin C is lost.

If they stored and washed before processing, the loss would be even more dramatic.

This source also indicates virtually no vitamin C in dried cranberries (0.1mg/40gms or 0.25mg/100gm or about 0.025%). Compared to fresh which is has about 14.6mg/110gms or 13.3mg/100gm or 1.33%). Dried contain about 2% of that which occurs in the fresh equilivant.


I agree that it is mostly likely to be weight as the product has been packaged as a weight rather than volume.

All there needs to be is about 10% difference in moisture content and the 69% bag would have the same number of cranberries as the 61% bag. If it is assumed that the 69% product is moister than than the 61% product, it could be possible that the 69% bag has a moisture content close to the upper end of the UNESC quality limits for treated cranberries (than being around 30%), while the 61% could be close to the 19% limit. It is assumed that the cranberries are treated like many other products imported into Australia.

Now extra drying has another effect. The additional drying will concentrate the sugars, but a smaller % addition of sugar will have a greater influence on the overall sugar content. If the same amount of sugar is added to each and every cranberry, then the extra dried cranberries would have less sugar per cranberry as there are more of them. This sort of tallies with the nutritional information presented in the yellow and white labels in the first post.

Maybe there is no missing sugar but extra dry cranberries in the yellow packet with the same amount of sugar per cranberry?


Cranberries are harvested in water, washing therefore is part of the process.


Is not the FSANZ the set of rules that apply to labelling in Australia? Did you see that the table from the George Mateljan Foundation refers to fresh fruit not dried? Depending on how much vitamin C is lost in drying the dried product could have more or less by weight than fresh.


Cranberries, like rhubarb, are pretty much inedible without quite a bit of sugar - they are REALLY sour! Maybe you should skip them & go with some other dried fruit if you don’t want so much added sugar.


I would steer clear of this type of product.
Sucralose is Splenda and is produced by chlorination of sucrose, Some deem this a safe product but others say it should be avoided. Those cranberries contain “refined sunflower oil” which is also not a recommended product to be ingesting.
“Soluble gluco fibre” sounds good but I suspect that it is just a gimic and is simply bulking up the product to reduce the amount of cranberries that you get (everything else is bulking it up too).
Glycerin (glycerol) is also a sweetner, it is a sugar alchohol. I find it ironic that only sucralose is listed as a sweetner, when almost all the ingredients are sweetners and supply considerable cheap bulk to the product.
As others have said above, if you need this much sugar to make a product palatable, then you are best finding something else which isn’t going to have potential adverse effects to your health.