An art installation in New York City's Times Square is making a statement about the sugar consumption of American children. It's conceptualized and executed by KIND Snacks, and reportedly went up Tuesday morning before 5 a.m.
The one-day installation showed sugar boxes piled on top of one another to reflect how much sugar children in the U.S. ingest every five minutes. In case the visual cue isn't enough to guess, it's 45,485 pounds. Surrounding the boxes are statues of children — each made of 64 pounds of sugar, because that's the average annual sugar intake the average 8-year-old has.
"Hopefully it empowers consumers — especially parents — to make more informed food choices," Stephanie Perruzza, RD, health & wellness specialist at KIND, tells USA Today.
The American Heart Association advises children limit their free sugar intake to 100 calories, which comes out to about six teaspoons, a day. According to data from the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children are eating far more than that: over 270 calories. A bulk of this high intake comes from sugary drinks.
"Added sugars provide excess calories without any beneficial nutrients," Perruzza says. "By reducing them in children's diets, you're creating more of an opportunity to introduce nutritious food options like fruits, vegetables, whole grains."
The KIND Snacks installation was educational but also promotional for its product, KIND Fruit Bites. According to the company, KIND Fruit Bites — available in strawberry, cherry, and apple — are "the only fruit snack with fruit as the first (and only) ingredients and no added sugar."
"KIND isn't against sugar," Drew Nannis, head of integrated communications for KIND, tells Adweek when asked about sugar in KIND's products. "We believe indulgences are great and should be enjoyed. What we don't advocate for are snacks being perceived as healthy, but in fact are primarily from sugar."