Calls to ban cereal and yogurt makers from putting cartoon characters on the sides of boxes were rejected today.
Influential experts want companies to embrace plain packaging on sugar-laden cereals and yogurts.
Products packed with up to four teaspoons of sugar are designed to appeal to children through the use of characters, animation and bright colours, anti-obesity campaigners say.
Some companies even use superheroes like Spider-Man and Disney favorites like Stitch to appeal to kids.
But health minister Will Quince called the action on Sugar’s proposal “nanny state intervention” and said plain packaging would be a “step too far.”
A MailOnline audit of more than 200 cereals sold in supermarkets revealed that Kellogg’s Frosties Cereal (37g) and Crunchy Nut (35g) contain more sugar than half a pack of Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookies (31g).
He told Times Radio: ‘It’s one of those things where it should be in moderation. Yes, she let my kids eat that cereal, but not every day.
“And really, what we need to do, and I think the companies that make these products need to do, is help educate parents about what’s really in their products and make sure that it’s a treat and not an everyday product that they should “. be consuming
“But that needs to be largely for parents to make that decision.”
Mr. Quince added: “I am not in favor of those types of nanny state interventions because as a parent it is my responsibility to educate my child on what is and is not appropriate for daily consumption and as a gift.”
‘I like Krave cereal as much as anyone…it’s very nice, but would I eat it every day? No, because I know the implications of that. I want to educate my children about it.
‘So what it means is we need to empower people to make healthier life choices.
‘And that means putting information like calories and sugar content and salt content front and center on the packages that are already there. But if we need to go further, we can look at it, but I think plain packaging is definitely a step too far.”
Malt O Meal Marshmallow Mateys sold at Sainsbury’s contains 41g per 100g, more than two Lotus Biscoff Krispy Kreme donuts. Kellogg’s Frosties cereal has 37g of sugar, making it the second most sugary cereal in our audit
Research by Action on Sugar, based at Queen Mary University of London, compared cereals and yoghurts offered by different companies in the UK.
It found that 47 percent of cereals and 65 percent of yogurts contained one-third of the recommended maximum daily sugar intake for a four to six-year-old child, excluding milk.
Health officials advise that children ages 4 to 6 not consume more than 19 g of added sugar per day, equal to 5 tsp. These are sugars added to food or drinks, rather than those that occur naturally.
However, the Lidl Crownfield Choco Hazelnut Pillows cereal contained 28.5g of sugar per 100g, which equates to 8.6g of sugar or 2 teaspoons per serving.
How should a balanced diet be?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS.
- Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count;
- Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain;
- 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin;
- Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (like soy drinks) by choosing low-fat and low-sugar options;
- Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other protein (including 2 servings of fish each week, one of which should be fatty);
- Choose unsaturated and spreadable oils and eat them in small amounts;
- Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day;
- Adults should consume less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day.
Fountain: NHS Eatwell Guide
However, a MailOnline audit of more than 200 cereals sold in supermarkets revealed that the worst offender had even more than that.
Malt O Meal Marshmallow Mateys sold at Sainsbury’s contains 41g per 100g — more than two Lotus Biscoff Krispy Kreme donuts.
For comparison, a small McDonald’s chocolate milkshake is 27 g.
Kellogg’s Frosties cereal (37g) and Pecan Crunch (35g) contain more sugar than half a package of Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookies (31g).
Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Salted Caramel (32g) and Crunchy Nut Chocolate Clusters (30g) are the next most sugary cereals for kids.
Adding 125ml of whole milk can add, on average, around 7g of sugar. Milk does not count as added sugar.
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of Action on Sugar, said: “Obesity is estimated to cost the UK £58 billion each year, having a huge impact on productivity. economy and the NHS”.
“Drastic changes to the food system are needed and that includes responsible marketing of food and drink, especially to children.”
In terms of yogurts, the Action on Sugar analysis found that Nestlé Smarties Vanilla had 14.6g of sugar per 100g, which equates to 4 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign manager for Action on Sugar, said: “It is ludicrous that while breakfast cereals and yoghurts celebrate the biggest reductions in sugars during the Sugar Reduction Program, those same products with attractive packaging for children still have excessive amounts of sugars, inadequate for children’s regular intake.
“With the increasing number of children under 18 suffering from weight-related health problems and dental cavities being the leading cause of child hospitalization, now is the time for companies to be forced to phase out child-friendly packaging. of products that deceive parents and make our children unhealthy and sick.
Action on Sugar wants companies to remove cartoon characters, animations and vibrant colors from foods classified as high or medium in sugar, salt or saturated fat, according to the Health Department’s nutrition guidelines.
Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, told MailOnline: ‘The government is right to reject this policy. Something similar was attempted in Chile a few years ago without success.
‘We’ve heard enough of Action on Sugar for a lifetime. None of their anti-obesity policies have worked anywhere.’
MailOnline has approached Sainsbury’s and Kellogg’s for comment.
MailOnline’s analysis was based on nutritional information taken from websites in August 2023.