In 1971, Post Cereals capitalized on the success of the children’s cartoon “The Flintstones” by releasing Fruity Pebbles. The name of the cereal is a bit misleading: Fruity Pebbles contains no actual fruit. Instead, a combination of artificial and natural flavors produce the fruity flavors. The original flavors included cherry, lemon and orange. The company has since added several new colors and flavors to its Fruity Pebbles: grape, lime, Berry Blue, Incrediberry Purple and Bedrock Berry Pink.
The main ingredients of Fruity Pebbles are rice, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil and salt. This cereal is labeled and marketed as a gluten-free food. The hydrogenated vegetable oil contains a mixture of coconut and palm kernel oil.
Natural and Artificial Flavors and Colors
According to the package, natural and artificial flavors make up less than .5% of the ingredients. BHA, or butylated hyrdoxyanisole, preserves the flavor. Fruity Pebbles contain the following added colors, in descending order of quantity: Red 40, Yellow 6, turmeric oleoresin, Blue 1, Yellow 5 and Blue 2. The numbers on these colors pertain to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. This act and its later amendments allow the FDA to oversee the types of colors added to food.
Vitamins and Minerals
Fruity Pebbles is a fortified cereal, meaning that the manufacturer adds vitamins and minerals to increase its nutritional content. This cereal contains sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid to boost its vitamin C content; vitamin A palmitate; vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12; niacinamide; reduced iron; zinc oxide and folic acid.
Some sources indicate that Fruity Pebbles contains polydextrose, a soluble fiber used to improve the texture of processed foods. Polydextrose, however, does not appear on the package’s ingredients list. Since the FDA has stringent guidelines on labeling this ingredient, it is not likely used in the manufacturing of this product.
References and ResourcesPost Cereals: Fruity Pebbles Overview
Post Cereals: Fruity Pebbles Nutritional Information
FDA; Color Additives: FDA's Regulatory Process and Historical Perspectives; 2003
Eating is the Hard Part: High Fiber Cereal #788 & The World of Fiber