In February 2019 researchers from New Zealand published the results of their study to assess the sugar and sodium content of pre-packaged fruit and vegetable-based products which are available in New Zealand supermarkets. Nutritional information was collected from non-frozen, processed fruit and vegetable products, including soups, sauces, jams and spreads, pickles, chutneys and dips, and canned/bottled fruit and vegetables, where fruit and/or vegetables were the majority ingredient(s). Results showed that, with the exception of canned/bottled vegetables, more than 60% of products contained added sugar. The highest sugar content per serving was found to be in canned/bottled fruit. More than 75% of soups, vegetable-based sauces, pickles/chutneys and canned/bottled vegetables contained added sodium, with soups recording the highest average value of sodium per serving. The researchers concluded that whilst the general public are encouraged to eat a diet high in fruit and vegetables, there may be large quantities of added sugar and sodium in manufactured fruit and vegetable products that can have a significant adverse effect on their health. Government health campaigns should therefore encourage the consumption of fresh, frozen and home-prepared fruit and vegetables.
Chepulis L et al. Added sugar and sodium levels in New Zealand processed fruit and vegetable-based products. Nutr Diet. 2019 Feb;76(1):67-74