Breakfast cereals that are marketed at children are often colourful and creative, with a keen emphasis on their nutritional benefits. However, a new survey paints a more sinister picture of the breakfast cereal market. This Morning’s Dr Nighat summed up the report’s findings: “Cereals have high amount of sugar, high amount of salt and not much fibre.”
The shocking revelations have prompted Action On Sugar to call for these products to be recalled from the breakfast cereal aisle and placed with other confectionery instead, to highlight that these dishes are more of a “treat” than a nutritious breakfast option.
It’s not just the sugar content that’s raising alarm bells.
There’s quite a bit of salt in these cereals, too.
Around 60 percent of the products tested were medium or high in salt.
The nutritional content is left wanting too – 45 percent of the cereals were low in fibre – up from 38 percent in 2020.
Campaigners are now urging all cereal manufacturers to commit to removing child-friendly images from the packaging of unhealthy products in a bid to stop enticing kids.
Nutritionist Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar, said: “The use of child-friendly packaging just makes it hard for parents to make a healthier choice, when companies should be making it easier.
“Whilst we are expecting to see restrictions on online and television advertising for foods high in fat, salt, and sugar, this does not yet apply to the packaging that may appeal to children, which is a huge concern.”
Dr Hashem added: “For too long, less healthy food has been in the spotlight which is not only unethical but also scandalous.”
“Food businesses should only have child-friendly packaging on their healthier foods and drinks to give them a starring role in children’s diets.”
Food Foundation executive director Anna Taylor added: “While it is really encouraging to see so many retailers act to remove cartoon characters from children’s cereals, the fact that this year 92 percent of cereals marketed towards children contain high or medium levels of sugar shows that much more work remains to be done.
“Progress is simply not happening quickly enough, and it’s concerning to see that the fibre content of these cereals remains low.”