Australian parents have teamed up with nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton to reveal their list of the worst children’s breakfast ‘Cereal Offenders’ as part of an ongoing campaign to reveal the truth behind the marketing spin on popular children’s food and drink products.
Dr Stanton and online advocacy group The Parents Jury today revealed the outcomes of their first joint Food Detectives investigation. The Food Detectives team compared the onpack claims on 14
children’s cereals, nominated by members of The Parents Jury, with their actual ingredients and key information on the Nutrition Information Panels.
Kellogg’s NutriGrain cereal was announced as the outright worst offender, with its traditional reputation as ‘Iron Man Food’ that ’helps fuel growing boys’ unable to stand up to its very low fibre
content and high levels of sugar and sodium.
Dr Stanton warned parents that they are potentially being misled by the idea that NutriGrain is a healthy cereal, especially for growing children.
“Not even the added vitamins and minerals can make up for that fact that this product is almost onethird
sugar. An elite iron man may burn off the kilojoules, but no amount of exercise will protect his teeth,” she said.
Despite its recent reformulation, Nestle Milo cereal was also criticised for its brazen packaging that features many ticks and statements about its wholegrain and fibre content, as well as the lines ’nutritious energy cereal’ and ’now better 4 you’.
Despite having more fibre than its previous formula, Dr Stanton says that with its 30 per cent sugar content Milo cereal cannot claim any “superior moral ground for good nutrition”.
Lowan Cocoa Bombs was also identified as a Cereal Offender for using a lesser known
marketing tactic based on its location in the supermarket. Cocoa Bombs is a gluten free cereal and can often
be found in the health aisle, however Dr Stanton stresses that this riceflour based cereal is very low in fibre and high in sugar.
Sanitarium WeetBix Kids was awarded a Badge of Honour by The Parents Jury for being a healthy cereal that meets its on pack promises and appeals to children with an endorsement from The
”WeetBix Kids lives up to all of its onpack claims and proves that it is possible to create a fun and popular healthy children’s cereal,” said Dr Stanton.
The Parents Jury member and mother of one Kate Helder says she is fed up with the tactics used by many food manufacturers to sell children’s cereals.
”Parents are often busy and can be overwhelmed by the volume of choices in the cereal aisle. Food manufacturers take advantage of parents and children by emphasising their cereals’ good elements and neglecting to highlight other significant factors like high levels of sugar or sodium.”
“You don’t see such blatant spin on the packaging of most regular adult cereals, so why should we have to wade through so many potentially misleading claims on kids’ food?” she said.
The Parents Jury supports the introduction of a mandatory front of pack traffic light food labelling system that uses red, amber and green colour coding to rate levels of fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium on packaged foods, enabling consumers to make informed choices at a glance.
For more information visit www.parentsjury.org.au.