Blueberry packaged foods are often fruit fiction
January 31, 2013

Fresh blueberries are packed with power. They are associated with reducing blood pressure, stopping the growth of cancer cells and staving off memory loss.

But if you think you're getting the same health benefits from eating blueberry packaged foods, think again, Consumer Reports says.

"We found products that look like they're loaded with blueberries that are anything but," said Jamie Kopf of Consumer Reports.

In Krusteaz blueberry pancake mix, for example, no fruit of any kind appears on the long list of ingredients.

"Keep an eye out for disclaimers like 'artificially flavored' and 'imitation blueberries,' which in this case are made of palm oil, cellulose gum and several dyes," Kopf said. "It's very important to check the list of ingredients."

Though there are blueberries on the box, the only thing blue in Kellogg's Blueberry Muffin Frosted Mini Wheats is dye.

A Kellogg's spokesperson told Consumer Reports the blueberry muffin name is meant to describe the flavor and that the product is labeled in compliance with laws and regulations.

"We found some products that prominently display blueberries have only blueberry juice in them, and that comes way down on the list of ingredients, behind sugar and corn syrup," Kopf said.

One example: Ocean Spray Blueberry Craisins – they're actually cranberries infused with blueberry juice.

The bottom line is, when it comes to blueberries and most other fruits and vegetables, go fresh.

If fresh isn't available, frozen can be a good substitute. Frozen fruit retains most of its vitamins.