Cereal manufacturers are trying to cut sugar, claims the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers (ACFM), after pressure groups claimed some breakfast cereals contained “shocking levels of sugar”.
Sugar content in some cereals has been “steadily high” since 1992, an Action on Sugar and Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) joint report claimed. There was no technical reason cereals should contain such high levels of sugar, it said.
But, AFCM – a division of the Food and Drink Federation – claimed sugars were added for a variety of reasons, and that there were areas of bigger concern for sugar reduction.
“There are a huge variety of breakfast cereals on sale in the UK today, with a range of sugar levels, including those with low levels of sugars, and with no added sugar” said an AFCM spokesman.
“Sugars are added for a variety of roles including flavour, texture, appearance, and to improve the palatability of fibre and grains.
“The country’s leading cereal manufacturers are actively looking for opportunities to support government’s aims of improving diets including through recipe change. The latest UK government data show that breakfast cereals contribute just 5% of added sugars and less than 2% of salt to the national diet.”
The pressure groups’ report claimed Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and Asda Honey Nut Corn Flakes contained 35g and 32g of sugar per 100g, respectively. A typical serving (30g) of children’s breakfast cereals contained a third of four to six-year-old’s maximum daily recommendation for sugar, the report said.
Sugar reduction targets must be set, following in the footsteps of the “successful” salt reduction programme, Action on Sugar claimed.
‘Steadily high since 1992’
Action on Sugar registered nutritionist Kawther Hashem said: “Our study shows that the sugars content in breakfast cereals has been steadily high since 1992, despite the ever-increasing evidence linking sugars with dental caries, obesity and type-2 diabetes. There has been no national sugar reduction programme, as there has been for salt, which is imperative if we want to see real and measurable improvements.
“Public Health England is due to announce a major national sugar reduction programme, as part of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, in March 2017. All manufacturers must support the programme and start reducing sugar now.”
The report followed similar claims from World Action on Salt & Health (WASH), in November. WASH claimed that more than half of Kellogg’s and Nestlé’s UK breakfast cereals were high in sugar.