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US firm Post Foods cuts sugar levels in its breakfast cereals

By Helen Glaberson , 04-Jan-2011
Last updated the 04-Jan-2011 at 13:27 GMT

US cereal producer Post Foods is reducing the amount sugar in two of its cereals, a move that follows similar action by leading food manufacturers such as Kellogg’s and General Mills to reduce the sugar content in their products.

From the beginning of this month, the sugar content of Post Foods’ Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereals will be reduced from 11 grams to 9 grams per serving.

According to the company, both cereals already contained vitamin D, low fat and “10 essential vitamins and minerals”.

Sugar content

Food giant General Mills also announced last December that it had reduced the sugar in its children’s cereals by 8 per cent in 2010, with aims to introduce further reductions to its Big G cereals range.

A year ago, the company pledged to reduce sugar to “single-digit levels of grams of sugar per serving” for its Big G cereals advertised to children under 12, having already reduced the figure to 11 grams or less per serving.

General Mills said that by 31 December, its Big G cereals advertised to children would contain 10 grams of sugar or less per serving, with some products already containing 9 grams of sugar.

But despite these moves to reduce sugar in children’s cereals, some scepticism has remained about whether children will eat lower sugar alternatives.

A study published last December by researchers at Yale’s Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity, suggests that children like and will eat low-sugar cereals if given a range of choices and may compensate for any lack of sweetness by eating more fruit instead.

The researchers recruited 91 children aged five to 12 from three summer camps in New England in the US. Half were offered a choice of three high-sugar cereals, while the other half could choose between three low-sugar cereals.

The researchers found that children in the low-sugar cereal group were more likely to add fresh fruit – 54 percent versus eight per cent – and consumed a greater proportion of total calories from fruit than the high-sugar group, 20 percent versus 13 per cent.

Kid's advertising pledge

Additionally, Post Foods is working as part of the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a program launched by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to help tackle the issue of childhood obesity by changing the mix of advertising messages directed to children under 12 to include healthier choices.

According to the company, a report released last month by the CFBAI shows Post Foods is demonstrating compliance with the pledge to advertise healthier foods to kids.

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