Reduced Sugar Craisins: Are These a Better Choice?

November 19, 2016   13 Comments

I was hunting for some dried cranberries when I found reduced sugar Craisins. Wow!

Reduced Sugar Craisins

I have written The Truth About Dried Cranberries because these aren’t simply dried cranberries – but dried cranberries with sugar added. I was shocked to find out that Craisins have about 23 grams of added sugar per serving.

Raisins on the other hand are simply dried grapes (and have about the same amount of sugar naturally).

Fresh cranberries (which I love to make into fresh cranberry sauce don’t have anything added (duh) and are quite sour.

I was excited by the idea that Ocean Spray had decided to cut the added sugar because I think they are too sweet.

Here is the nutrition label - sorry it is fuzzy:

They did cut the sugar! Only 14 grams of sugar is a big step back from 23 grams (they cut almost 2 teaspoons per serving).

When I opened them, I was excited to taste the new Craisin but, boy, was I disappointed. Something was wrong – there was a strange bitter kick to the flavor. I checked out the ingredients and THERE IT WAS – sucralose!


Why do companies feel the need to add sucralose when they reduce sugar? I think that they ruin the food by doing this because now all I can taste is the sucralose - maybe others have a different experience. Cranberries taste delicious and don’t need a lot of flavorings to be enjoyed but Ocean Spray didn’t feel the public was ready to taste more cranberry and less sugar.

Also, they added fiber, huh? So a serving has 10 grams of fiber instead of 3 grams. Why is this necessary?

The good news is that a reader shared with me a dried cranberry that has nothing added to them – Honestly Cranberry. These dried cranberries have no added sugars, juices, or oils – just the fruit and are grown in Wisconsin.

Right now, they are mostly in Illinois (check out their buy dried cranberries page). I got them to send me a sample and they are SO good. Yes, they are tart, but they are also flavorful.

I wish companies would trust us to like food that isn’t super sweet.

Please share your thoughts on reduced sugar foods.

Other posts you might like:

Craisins vs Raisins

The Truth About Dried Cranberries

This shocking post will reveal a little known fact about dried cranberries. Someone has to reveal the truth!...

Make Your Own Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Two years ago I posted this recipe and thought, “No one is going to read this.”...

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I like to add a sprinkle of the reduced-sugar Craisins into my salads. They work well for that, but I wouldn't just eat them straight. The portion size would get away from me real fast.

Thank you Lisa,I place an order to Honestly Crambery. I am so happy for the info...and happy they come in 1oz.and /or 4 oz. I ordered the 1 oz..for a litlle snack. thank you again and all the best to you and yours, G

If you scout around you can find apple-sweetened organic dried cranberries (no other ingredients). Been using them for years in salads, granola & muffins. I find them to be plumper like fresh raisins. Bulk bins have them and some odd brands in Health Food Stores. I do not use them as freely as raisins because of cost but they are very delicious! Re: reduced sugar food in general, I personally don't buy added sugar foods, preferring to trust my own adding if needed. There is one store-bought cookie I buy occasionally and just close my eyes--its Stop&Shop's Natures Promise Choc Chip Pecan cookies, they're an old fashioned hard cookie I love with tea. They are my bad guilty pleasure. If I could find a non-chewy recipe I'd make my own. Anybody got one? :)

I have purchased unsweetened cranberries from the bin at whole foods. I used them when I made my fall pumpkin granola. Not sure if they offer them still but they were great!

WOW! Great info ! Thank you so much Appreciate your 'detective work'. When I read this and saw the nutrition data I wanted to see the list of ingredients. You then wrote exactly what I artificial sweetener! We are hooked on sugar/sweetness. I am trying to eliminated artificial sweeteners so thanks for this. I prefer real sugar in less amounts. Hope you can check out Whey Low sugar which I have been using with cooking. Claims it helps with blood sugar readings. I'm no skinny gal but just trying to eat healthier overall and artificial sweeteners are no longer on my grocery list. Yes, I miss splenda a lot but have given it all away.

I've been buying the Vincent Family Dried Cranberries for years is a family farm in OR and they sweeten them with apple juice. Three ingredients: cranberries, apple juice, sunflower oil. They work wonderfully in granola bars. Here is the link where I get them:…

Last year I tried dehydrating fresh cranberries in a big, round dehydrator I'd had for years. It took FOREVER! Something like three days with this machine running. This year I'll try doing in on low in the oven. I love having them to throw into cereal, muffins, salads, etc., but refuse to use the ones with sugar. Thanks for this post, Lisa, AND your wonderful inspiration to make minimally sweetened cranberry sauce - a great addition to holiday meals as well as yogurt and cottage cheese.

What a timely post! I was just at our fall Farmer's Market/Craft fair this morning. There is a guy who sells fresh & dried cranberries, I love the unsweetened ones ... but he was all out of everything. I have ordered them on the website before & they are well worth it. Here's the info: - they are in MA, but I think they will ship anywhere. Make sure you get the "no sugar added" -

I wish companies would realise some of us hate the overly sweet so called foods. I like to have something sweet occasionally, but rarely do because even a checkout candy bar is much to sweet for me. I usually have to make my own sweet treats so I can adjust for my taste. I usually end up cutting the sugar at least in half in most recipes.

I agree with your idea to decrease the sugar and NOT add sucralose, but I am totally in favor of adding fiber (however they do that?) I am always on the search for fiber enriched foods that are NOT carbs. Rather hard to find.

Thank you, Lisa, for the info on this topic. I've been wondering about this and wishing I could find dried cranberries without added sugar. This is very helpful.

If you are in Canada, Terra Beata brand dried cranberries are sold in regular grocery stores in 5 provinces. They have 14g sugar per serving with no sucralose - just less sugar. And they do not extract the juice before drying the berries, so they keep more taste and more vitamins. Terra Beata also makes completely unsweetened dried cranberries, but these are mail order only.

Unfortunately, I read the label after I opened it. I am very disappointed. I would not have purchased them if I’d read the ingredients before purchasing them. I agree with you 100%!

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