Sugar Isn’t ‘Kind’ to Kids: Snack Bar Company Dumps 50,000 Pounds of Sugar in Times Square to Prove It

KIND Dumps 50,000 Pounds of Sugar in Times Square
image via KIND/Instagram

Tourists visiting Times Square in New York City Tuesday got a sweet surprise. Well, more like a bittersweet kick in the gut. KIND Healthy Snacks, the manufacturer of popular nut- and seed-based energy and snack bars, promoted the launch of its new line of fruit snacks – which it says are healthier and contain less sugar than other fruit-based snacks – by dumping nearly 50,000 pounds of sugar in the city’s center, surrounded by statues of children made out of sugar.

“We’re taking over Times Square to show what 45,485 pounds of added sugar looks like. This is the amount of added sugar children in the U.S. are eating every 5 minutes,” KIND wrote on its Instagram page. “It’s time for a change.”

KIND founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky told Food Navigator that the fruit snack category is “ripe for disruption.” The company’s new snacks are sweetened only with fruit and each 18-gram pouch contains one serving of fruit.

According to KIND, many of its mainstream competitors are misleading customers with fruit snacks that contain excess sugars, and these purportedly healthy snacks are contributing to the overconsumption of sugar in a major way. The American Heart Association says the average child eats as much as 80 grams of sugar per day, well above the recommended 12 to 36 grams.

The installation was intended to alert consumers to these staggering facts. According to a placard posted at the installation, not only does the mountain represents the amount of sugar U.S. children eat every five minutes (45,485 pounds), but the sugar children statues also represent another disturbing fact: a nine-year-old in the U.S., on average, will eat her weight in sugar before she turns ten.

“And that’s the real power of this installment,” Will Burns,CEO of virtual-ideation firm, Ideasicle, and owner of Tini Grails, an online martini glass store, wrote in Forbes yesterday. “I hung around for a while to observer the observers. I noticed people had a hard time passing by this monument to junk food. Nearly everyone slowed down to take it in. Nearly everyone took in the signage. And nearly everyone seemed to leave impressed by these dumbfounding facts made physical by the mountain.”

Excess sugar consumption is a leading cause of obesity and type-2 diabetes in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children with obesity today has more than tripled since the 1970s.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.