Warning on cereal bar sugar levels

Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Some cereal bars aimed at children contain “staggering” levels of sugar and are better suited to the confectionery aisle, a consumer group has warned.

Which? has used World Consumer Rights Day to call for clearer traffic light nutrition labelling on the front of all cereal bar packs after finding some contain more than 40% sugar.

The watchdog took a snapshot survey of 15 cereal bars and breakfast biscuits and found the levels of sugar left some “more suited to the confectionery aisle”, including those marketed directly at children.

The Kellogg’s Coco Pops Snack Bar contained the highest level of sugar at 42%, while others also marketed at children such as Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Bar and Frosties Bar and Harvest Chewee (Milk Choc Chip) were also high in sugar and saturated fat.

Some of the bars carried health claims such as the vitamin and mineral content, but Which? found that Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Fruit Breakfast Bars (Strawberry) contained 33% sugar as well as the advertised 31% wholegrain cereal.

Quaker Oat So Simple Golden Syrup Morning Bars had the lowest amount of sugar of the products surveyed at just over 15%.

Just one of the leading products Which? looked at – the Mars Tracker Bar – had clear traffic light nutrition labelling on the front of the pack, making it clear it was high in sugar, fat and saturated fat.

A Which? poll found that just a quarter (26%) of people were satisfied with the action government is taking to help people to eat healthily, and only 23% in the case of manufacturers.

Which? said it backed a call from Consumers International, the world federation of consumer groups, to support a global convention to protect and promote healthy diets.

It also wants the next government to lead initiatives to make it easier to eat healthily – and ultimately tackle rates of obesity and diet-related disease – such as an industry-wide take-up of traffic light labelling, more responsible promotions and reductions in levels of fat, sugar and salt in foods.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “It’s worrying that cereal bars, especially those aimed at children or claiming to be healthy, contain so much sugar but most don’t make this clear on the front of the pack.

“We now want the Government to tackle this issue head-on by making sure all manufacturers use traffic light nutrition labelling, encouraging reductions in sugar, fat and salt and ensuring manufacturers promote their products responsibly.”

A Kellogg’s spokeswoman said: “There are less than two teaspoons of sugar in a Coco Pops Snack Bar – that’s 9% of your recommended intake.

“We clearly label all our foods so people can make informed decisions about what they buy.”

:: Populus surveyed 2,102 UK adults online between March 6 and 8.

Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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