- Kind Healthy Snacks has published information about the added sugar content for the more than 60 snack products across its portfolio, making it the first national snack brand to do so, according to a news release.
- Kind has released its added sugar disclosure two years prior to the July 26, 2018 deadline the FDA set earlier this year. New nutrition facts regulations, which the FDA announced in May, will require all manufacturers to disclose added sugar content.
- Kind has shared this information via its newly launched website, KIND Promises. The added sugar disclosure will appear on Kind's product packaging early next year.
The FDA's update to the mandated nutrition facts panel was two years in the making, after more than 20 years since any last major updates. Many industry professionals praised—or at least accepted—the recommended changes, recognizing that the current panel no longer reflected much of the health information consumers want about the foods and beverages they buy.
The Sugar Association felt otherwise. It's expected that among the hardest hit by the changes would be companies that use a large amount of added sugar, which must now be disclosed apart from sugar that naturally occurs in a product's ingredients, such as fruits. Processed foods often employ sugar for various reasons, including flavor but also functionality and appearance, so reducing or removing the sugar can be a complex process.
Still, reducing added sugar is likely going to be a common strategy for manufacturers now that they will have to disclose that information on the label. Consumers today are increasingly concerned about their sugar intake, which has led to declines in categories like soda and cereal in addition to recommendations to restrict sugar intakes from health organizations like the FDA and the World Health Organization.
In addition to its added sugar disclosure, Kind has also been retooling certain varieties with less added sugar and released a new line of snack bars, Pressed, which contain no added sugar. Other companies have made similar efforts to reduce sugar in recent years, such as General Mills for Yoplait and its cereals and Mars for a select number of its products.
Aside from its portfolio and marketing campaigns, Kind has also joined the fight against long-standing health regulations that have impacted its own products. In April 2015, the FDA sent a warning letter demanding that Kind stop using the word "healthy" on its packaging due to the product's higher-than-allowed level of saturated fat, which the company said comes from nuts.
In December, Kind submitted a formal petition to the FDA requesting the agency update its regulations concerning use of the term "healthy" as it relates to current research. In May, the FDA reversed its stance on Kind's "healthy" claim and said it would review its current definition of "healthy" in response to Kind's petition. Kind's move to disclose added sugar nearly two years early thereby appears in line with the company's branding and business practices.