PopTarts Under Fire for Low Strawberry Fruit Content

Oct 27, 2021

Interesting article popped up in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that might be of interest to local strawberry growers.



This concerns a recent lawsuit alleging the strawberry content of Strawberry Pop-Tarts is too low.  Which in fact, at less than 2% of the total content of the breakfast snack, and that being mixed in with dry apples and pears, does seem like a reasonable allegation.  However, the merits of such a case are less interesting to me than what happens if manufacturer Kellogg's is pressed by the court decision to increase the strawberry content this most of popular of the 28 flavor Pop-Tart line?  In other words, would such a content change be of material value to local strawberry growers?

Digging into the numbers, 2 billion Pop-Tarts are sold in the USA every year, of which the strawberry flavored ones are most popular.  I can't find anywhere what the percentage breakdown of each flavor is, so we will go with the most conservative position and divide 2 billion by 28 and arrive at 71 million strawberry Pop-Tarts. Since each one weighs around 48.85 grams (yes, I bought some, see below), that is a total of 3.5 billion grams of this one flavor.

Now, for some more math to determine the total amount of strawberry in this group. We know from the box that dried strawberry, along with dried pears and apples and some other stuff constitute less than 2% of the content, whose total weight is 48.85 grams, so that is 0.97 grams, of which conservatively one third is strawberry, or 0.33 grams. This is 0.6 % of the total Pop-Tart weight or 0.006.  0.006 x 3.5 billion grams = 20.9 million grams strawberry in the USA consumption of strawberry Pop-Tarts.

Even more math to make this number meaningful.  First and foremost is the fact that these strawberries are dried, meaning (hat tip to colleague Joji Muramoto for this information) that they are 10% of the fresh strawberry weight.  So our 20.9 million grams of dried strawberry actually translates out to 209.0 million grams or 460,000 lbs of fresh strawberry, which divided by the 8 lb boxes we all use here comes out to 57,500 boxes.  

So, if in fact the lawsuit, along with a hefty payout of course to the plaintiff, should result in an increase of say, double the current strawberry content, California strawberry growers would be looking at something north of 50,000 boxes of increased demand.  In field terms that's about a dozen acres or so. 

Also, if anybody wants to come by and nosh on the remaining strawberry Pop-Tarts I have here, come on by.  I'll kick in for coffee and conversation.

By Mark Bolda
Author - County Director, Santa Cruz County and Farm Advisor, Strawberries & Caneberries

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