Ice ice baby – choosing the healthiest icy pole for your kids this summer


A new LiveLighter analysis of over 20 icy pole brands has revealed some products are masquerading as ‘full of fruit’ when in reality some contain up to five teaspoons of sugar per serving.

LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alice Bastable said that with so many products to choose from, many of which are dressed up as healthy, it can be hard for parents to find an icy and refreshing treat for their kids without serving them up a mouthful of sugar.

“On those hot days when children are surrounded by colourful and enticing marketing for refreshing icy treats, it can be hard for parents to navigate the supermarket shelves or kiosk,” Miss Bastable said.

“When 40% of the average child’s energy intake is coming from processed junk foods, it’s clearly becoming harder for parents to stick to healthy options for their kids.

“Food manufacturers know that people associate the word 'fruit' with 'health'. So they take full advantage of this, plastering it all over the packaging, especially in kids’ food. The reality is that a lot of these products are essentially a mouthful of added sugar, minus the fibre.”

What the analysis found:

Fruity fakes: It’s easy to get sucked in to the often false promise of healthier, fruity options when choosing an icy pole.

  • With over 20g (5 teaspoons) of sugar per serving, Paddle Pop’s cyclone icy pole was the worst offender. Paddle Pop’s cartoon lion is a winner with kids, creating pester power for parents. Although the packaging tries to cast a healthy halo claiming to contain real apple juice, the icy pole is one fifth sugar. It’s packed with concentrated sugars, minus the fibre of an apple. The energy content is the equivalent of two small apples with less than 10% of the fibre.
  • Next in line was Peters frosty fruits, with one icy pole containing a whopping 16.9g of sugar (4.2 teaspoons). Despite the enticing promise of pineapple and other fruits on the packaging, one frosty fruit icy pole is bursting with sugar. While an equivalent serve of pineapple only contains 7g of sugar.

Non fruit icy poles: Some icy pole brands don’t rely on the promise of fruit, the association with summer is enough to entice people to buy these sweet treats. The majority of sugar in these products comes from added sugars.

  • Paddle Pop’s icy twist comes up on top in this category, with nearly a whopping 13.5g (or 3.3 teaspoons) of sugar.
  • This is followed closely by Coles lemonade ice blocks with 13.1g of sugar.

Healthier alternatives: The good news is there are healthier icy pole options to choose from.

  • Kisco juice pops contain less than 2g in one serve,
  • Meanwhile, sugar free-zies have a total of zero sugar. While sugar-freezies have no sugar, they do contain ‘polyols’, which are essentially, sugar replacers. It may not be sugar, but it’s healthier to still make these icy poles an occasional treat.

LiveLighter’s advice for parents?

LiveLighter encourages parents to cut through the clever marketing on icy poles and read the label.

“Always look past the flashy promises of real fruit ingredients and make sure to read the label. Check the nutrition information panel to compare sugar content in products, against the Avg per 100g panel. Anything containing more than 15g of sugar per 100g should be avoided,” Ms Bastable said.

The World Health Organization recommends kids should be limiting their added sugar intake to 3 to 6 teaspoons (12.5g to 25g) per day. With the amount of added sugar in some of these icy varieties, kids could be hitting their daily limit after just one treat.

Ms Bastable said these sugary treats are fine occasionally, as long as this doesn’t become every day, or several times a day.

“If your kids are pestering you for one of the more unhealthy varieties, there’s no need to beat yourself up. Icy poles are still a better alternative than some of the other icy options out there, such as a super Slurpee which contains over 50g of sugar!”

Make your own:

For parents looking for a natural alternative, full of fruit and no added sugar, why not make some yourself! LiveLighter’s healthy and cheaper alternatives are packed with real fruit and therefore plenty of fibre.

  • LiveLighter’s frozen tropical sorbet has no added sugar and the added bonus of 3g of fibre. A healthy way to make sure your kids are getting their two serves of fruit a day.
  • For a refreshing treat with only 7.9g of sugar per serving try LiveLighter’s strawberry and kiwifruit icy treats.

LiveLighter’s survey of popular icy pole brands: The best and worst offenders



How many grams of sugar per serving?

How many teaspoons of sugar per serving?

Added sugar?

Kisco juice pops (30g serving)




Berri Quelch 99% fruit juice icey tubes (70g serving)




Proud and punch packham pear, blood orange and strawberry (71g serving)




Proud and punch granny smith apple, packham pear, spinach and desert lime (71g serving)




Smooze mango (65g serving)




Proud and punch packham pear, raspberry, strawberry and passionfruit (71g serving)




Smooze pineapple (65g serving)




Coles real fruit ice sticks, oran