Kids Activity – Comparing Canned Fruit

It breaks my heart that my son is not a crafter. He doesn’t like to sit down at the table with crayons and a coloring book. Occasionally I can get him to paint with me. But I haven’t given up on him. The easiest place for me to tackle a creative activity with my 4 year old is in the kitchen. He loves to measure flour and turn on the mixer. He has become a pro at breaking eggs.

Since he is a picky eater, I encourage his being active in the kitchen – everything I’ve read as well as my own experiences say that allowing your picky eater to help in the creation of his food is one of the best ways to get him to try more foods. Doing this #SFTasteTest brand comparison was a perfect opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get creative in the kitchen. Though it is hard to teach a preschooler about the quality and value of certain foods, I can teach him about the great taste!

We started out by going shopping. Of course fruit was not the only thing on our list. Check out my photo album on Google + to see more photos of our trip.

Once home, I set up our “test kitchen” space. I cleaned off the kitchen island and put down two pieces of paper in different colors. I then ran a piece of plastic wrap across the island (from one end to the other), covering the sheets of paper to protect them from canned fruit juice.

First, we looked at the cans. With my 4 year old, I was able to look at things that were the same, and things that were different. They were the same size, but different colors. They both had pop tabs. And letters on the labels. The cans were different colors. One had pictures of big fruit, one of fruit pieces.

After washing hands (and splashing on ourselves in the process), we opened up the cans and poured out the liquid. We looked at which can had more liquid (the First Street can, but I wasn’t able to drain the Del Monte can fully, so they were probably pretty equal), and we compared the colors of the liquid.

Then came the fun part – the taste comparison! We started by tasting the “juice”. Though my son said he liked the First Street liquid best, he drained the DelMonte fastest. Probably because the DelMonte is sweeter tasting.

Then we dumped out the cans. The bowls look very different, which isn’t a reflection of the quality or value of either product. The reason is in the order that the fruit is stacked. In the First Street can, the cherries and grapes were on top, so when dumped out they ended up on the bottom. The DelMonte can was stacked exactly opposite.

“Mommy, don’t play with your food – you’re supposed to eat it!” my son said as we sorted the fruit. It was easy to find the cherries and grapes. Sorting the peaches from the pears was a little harder. And picking the pineapple from the pears was even harder. The final result was that the cans have approximately the same amounts of the same kinds of fruits.

The label revealed why the DelMonte can was sweeter – almost twice the sugar! I’m not a big label reader when it comes to picking my foods, but this was a real eye opener. All canned fruits and veggies are clearly not created equal. To help my son make healthy food choices, checking out the sugar content in some of his favorite foods, and substituting them with less sugary options should be a simple choice to make.

We opened up cans of peaches and pears to compare as well. Look how dark the peach liquid is in the First Street can! This would add great color to a Peach Mimosa. Just equal parts canned peach “juice” and champagne – yum!

Here are the label comparisons, in case you’re a label reader. If you like reading labels on foods, feel free to explain to me what I should be looking for!

It is good to know that if we truly didn’t like the products we purchased, there was a money-back guarantee!

Obviously, we couldn’t eat all this fruit in one sitting, so I popped it into the refrigerator to snack on later. Which is what I would do even if it was still in the can. That’s right, I keep my canned fruit in the fridge. I started doing this when pregnant with my oldest. I was constantly craving Mandarin Oranges. When pregnant in Vegas in August, you find as many ways to cool down as possible. Keeping my number one craving food in the fridge was an easy way to do this – but also it was yummy. I now keep all canned fruits in the fridge. I promise – it only sounds crazy until you try it!

Have you ever compared two different brands? What did you look for? Did your kids join in on the fun? You can find other great Smart & Final comparisons on their site.

Are you as addicted to Pinterest as I am? Smart and Final is having a fun Pinterest party where you could win great prizes! Find out all about the Smart and Final Pinterest party here.

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This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.


  1. Wow that is a big difference on the sugar content! I have been a label reader for years, looking at fat and ingredients, I need to start checking sugars too.

  2. You guys did a great job on this post! I will be doing this children’s activity with my toddler in the future. Thanks!

  3. Wow that’s a fun game to play with the LO!! Will keep this in mind when M gets older 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! .. and yes I also keep my canned fruits in the fridge! MMM

  4. If the prices were the same I would have picked up Del Monte only because it was a name brand. Wow after looking at the label I won’t be doing that in the future.

  5. Interesting and very educational…for both your son and us, as your readers. I noticed that there were more carbohydrates in the Del Monte brand and less fiber. Honestly, I thought all canned fruit had similar stats, boy was I wrong. 🙁 Thanks for the lesson!

  6. You might want to redo your cocktail and peach tests as you picked up the ‘heavy syrup’ to compare to the ‘fruit juice concentrate’ versions!

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