While cereal companies are improving many of their products for kids by adding whole grain and cutting sugar, they are simultaneously marketing more heavily their less healthy products, according to a new Yale study.
The “Cereal Facts” study is from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Kelly Brownell is the director of the center.
” ‘It’s not enough and the companies are still using all their marketing muscle to push their worst cereals on children,’ Brownell said.”
“Spending to promote child-targeted cereals totaled $264 million in 2011, up 33 percent from 2008, according to the study, which followed up a similar report from three years ago.”
“The report called out aggressive marketing of cereals like General Mills’ Reese’s Puffs, Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Post’s Fruity Pebbles to children. It said those brands rank among the lowest for nutrition and the highest for added sugar.”
Elaine Kolish, director of the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a voluntary self-regulation program for food marketed to children, said that “before the CFBAI was founded, some cereals had 15 to 16 grams of sugar per serving. Now, she said, most have no more than 10 grams of sugar — or about 2.5 teaspoons — per serving.”
The report’s authors say that’s essentially all the sugar a child should have in a day.
We’re pretty good about choosing the healthier cereals and often going for plain oatmeal that they sweeten themselves. If we ever buy Trix or the like the kids know that it’s a treat and not a healthy start to their day. (Sorry Trix!)
What do you observe in cereal marketing? Do you think the companies are pushing their least healthy products? What are your kids asking you to buy? Are they willing to go for the Cheerios or Frosted Mini-Wheats, which the study says are better? (Mine think Frosted Mini-Wheats are total treat. They’ll eat those any day.)