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July 11, 2011

Who Knew Cookies Could be Nutritious?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:20 am

Last week a commercial for a new product Whonu? cookies began airing nationally. It basically contends that its cookies are a healthy choice for consumers.

On their website, but a little less so in the commercial, the company makes an array of nutrition claims comparing itself not only to oatmeal and milk, but also to the vitamins in blueberries, spinach, carrot juice, tomato juice, cottage cheese, and fruit:

*MOUSE PRINT: Those little asterisks lead to a fine print disclosure on the website, and a similar one in the TV commercial, which is visible for only three seconds:

So, you have to eat three cookies to get the nutrition they claim. However, when looking at the nutrition label for their Oreo-like cookies, one discovers that it contains only three grams of fiber, not four, as one would find in a serving of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. And all the other vitamins and minerals are mostly in the 10% range (with a few up to 30%) of one’s daily requirement.

The bigger problem in our view is not quibbling over the claims referring to one cookie or three cookies, or the amount of fiber. Rather, it would be an unfortunate result to have people think they could eat these cookies as a substitute for all the healthy foods they compared them to, which obviously, as a whole, provide much more nutrition than these vitamin-spiked snacks.

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  1. Remember it is easy to add vitamins and minerals to a product…just look at all the cereals out there. Spinach is a poor source of iron, as are most vegetables, since it is poorly absorbed. You also must eat 3 cookies to get the nutrients for a total of 160 calories and 7 grams of fat. I could not find an ingredient list so I contacted them. So I don’t know where the fat and fiber came from.
    Do you have the ingredient list???

    Edgar replies: I saw the box yesterday at the supermarket, but did not take a picture of the ingredients. But the first three were sugar, flour and oil/fat.

    Comment by Nancy-The Frugal Dietitian — July 11, 2011 @ 9:08 am
  2. What I wish was, if a company is to put up a disclaimer, by law the disclaimer should READABLE and on the screen LONG ENOUGH for the average person to actually read it.

    Same with print, by LAW there should be a minimum size print that can be used and it has to be readable.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 11, 2011 @ 9:15 am
  3. I have no doubt that FDA will be sending them a warning letter since their product is being marketed illegally (and you can’t add nutrients to junk food).

    Comment by Dave — July 11, 2011 @ 9:57 am
  4. So they fortified cookies just like they do Cereal.
    It is still a low amount (10% range (with a few up to 30%))
    Less then a powerbar but the same principle. Take a candy bar add nutrients and call it a powerbar or other brand.

    If they add more then they can market it as a power cookie 🙂

    Comment by Martin — July 11, 2011 @ 12:36 pm
  5. Update: Response I received: Ingredients are poor sources: Fiber is polydextrose, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil (trans fatty acids), high fructose corn syrup and refined flour).

    ‘Thank you for contacting Suncore Products and your interest in WhoNu?™ Nutrition Rich Cookies. Please click on the link below for a full ingredient list of our cookies. WhoNu?™ Cookies were created to serve as an alternative to other indulgent, nutrition poor treats on the market, loaded with 20 essential vitamins and minerals. They are not intended, however, to replace healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help!


    Comment by Nancy-The Frugal Dietitian — July 11, 2011 @ 1:24 pm
  6. FTC takes care of advertising – I sent a little note to the FTC and wrote a bit on my blog. There was a coupon in yesterday’s newspaper so you know the interest will be high. http://thefrugaldietitian.com/?p=23371

    Comment by Nancy-The Frugal Dietitian — July 11, 2011 @ 6:49 pm
  7. @Jonathan: even better, you will find that they put the fine print exactly where a DVR seek bar would be located, so that if you have the ability to pause and read the fine print, it will be covered up. I’d bet money THAT isn’t a mere accident.

    Comment by ERock — July 12, 2011 @ 11:53 am
  8. @ Jonathan: That’s my pet peeve, the one where they put the high-end car on the screen with the low-end price in large font followed by a barrage of disclaimers in tiny font that you cannot read. Hell, you can’t freaking *RESOLVE* the fine print, much less read it. It’s legalized fraud.

    Comment by anonymous — July 12, 2011 @ 10:10 pm
  9. I think they are just offering a healthier cookie. They arent saying, stop eating vegetables and fruit because these cookies have extra vitamins in it. Obviously cookies are not a great nutritional source, so I think everyone should lighten up because theyre trying to put out a healthier option. Plus if youre looking to cookies to stay healthy, youre probably pretttty smart.

    Comment by Sherlock — August 8, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

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