What Is a Fruit Snack?

Kelly Ferguson

There are several different types of fruit snack that appeal to various consumers, some of which contain actual fruit and others that may just have fruit flavoring and coloring. For example, children may be more interested in a sugary fruit snack such as a fruit leather, while health-conscious individuals would prefer to stick with fruit cups, dried fruit, fruit bars, and other healthier options. Sugar content, especially added sugar, is always a consideration with any kind of fruit snack, but most types offer “no sugar added” versions.

Not all fruit snacks contain actual fruit.
Not all fruit snacks contain actual fruit.

Fruit leathers are processed, sugary fruit-flavored snacks that have been pressed into thin panels or strips, often with interesting shapes, colors, and varying flavors that appeal to children. Children in school frequently take fruit leathers for lunch because they are easy for busy mothers to pack quickly and do not need to be kept refrigerated or warmed up before eating. As a healthful fruit snack, however, fruit leathers fall short of other options.

Many freeze-dried fruit snacks contain nothing but fruit.
Many freeze-dried fruit snacks contain nothing but fruit.

Dried fruit and fruit bars provide some individuals the pleasing crunchy or chewy texture that can replace other unhealthful snack options such as chips, and can be comparable to candy with regard to flavor. Health-conscious individuals, however, would do well to avoid a dried fruit snack or fruit bar if it has a lot of sugar added, as sometimes this can make the snack equally or even more unhealthy than other snacks. Even without added sugar, a dried fruit snack or fruit bar is not likely to have the same nutritional value as fresh fruit would, although it is much more durable and easy to prepare and pack in a lunch.

Dried fruit, like prunes, are often sweeter than their fresh counterparts.
Dried fruit, like prunes, are often sweeter than their fresh counterparts.

Fruit cups are usually individually sealed servings of fruit in water or sweet syrup that provide the flavor and texture of real fruit while keeping it portable. Individuals who enjoy eating whole fruit but need a way to travel with the snack and avoid the bruising and mushing that real fruit is often subject to often turn to fruit cups as a substitute. As with the other types of fruit snack, one should ideally look for fruit cups packaged with water and no additional sugar as opposed to ones packaged with syrup or added sugary flavors. While fruit cups may be a healthy form of fruit snack, nutritionists almost always agree that, if possible, one should eat real, whole fruits to maximize nutritional content.

Strawberries are a healthy snack.
Strawberries are a healthy snack.

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Discussion Comments


I end up buying fruit snacks for my kids all the time because it seems like there are always fruit snack coupons in the newspaper. I don't think I've ever paid full price for a box of fruit snacks and it's not like they were that expensive to begin with.

I know that they are not the best snacks, but when I can I try to by organic fruit snacks. They taste the same and they must be a little better. There are also motts fruit snacks that include apple sauce which is better than the normal high fructose corn syrup.


There has been a big trend lately of people making ridiculously over the top food. The best known example is the guys on Epic Meal Time but there are other examples as well. I saw one recently that was all about fruit snacks.

These guys took gushers, fruit roll ups and fruit by the foot. They made pouches of gushers rolled up in fruit roll ups. They then took four or five of the pouches and rolled them up in fruit by the foot really tightly. The whole thing was the size of a large hamburger patty. It was cool to look at but disgusting to think of eating.


Fruit snacks were my favorite snack when I was a kid. I ate at least one pouch of them every day after school. It kind of grosses me out now to think of eating that much sugar but when you are a kid it seems like the top of the world.

My favorite were gushers fruit snacks. Those were the ones that had the little bit of juice in the middle. They had a blue raspberry flavor that turned your whole mouth blue. I think they really annoyed my mom but I loved them.

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