Thursday 18 October 2018

'Low-sugar' Coco Pops still has two teaspoons per bowl

Kellogg's Coco Pops
Kellogg's Coco Pops
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The average bowl of popular cereal Coco Pops will still have nearly two teaspoons of sugar, despite moves to make it less sweet.

Kelloggs is reducing the cereal's sugar content from 30g to 17g per 100g from next July.

But 100g of Coco Pops will have more than four teaspoons of sugar.

A 40g bowl would still mean a child is having nearly two teaspoons of sugar for breakfast.

Their daily limit should be around six.

Prof Donal O'Shea, who is the HSE's clinical lead for obesity, welcomed the reduction in sugar, but he pointed out the levels should still act as a reminder to the public about the amount of sugar they are consuming.

"A child can have a significant part of their daily intake consumed at breakfast," he said.

Kellogg's is also reducing the sugar content of Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes from 21g to 15g per 100g.

The sugar content in regular Rice Krispies will come down in January from 10g to 8g per 100g, the same as two teaspoons.

The salt content is also being cut.

Coco Pops will still contain 1g of salt per 100g.

Prof O'Shea said own-brand breakfast cereals can be particularly high in sugar.

"They have no plan to reformulate," he added.

Makers of foods and drinks which contain sugar are under pressure to reformulate their recipes because of the growing obesity crisis.

A sugar tax will come into force in April but it will just apply to fizzy drinks.

Prof O'Shea said it was possible to get children eating more healthily with a bowl of porridge sweetened with a chopped apple to make it more appetising.

"It's about doing it from early on," he said. "If a child's palate is used to sweet then you really are struggling."

He has now set up a committee of experts to come up with recommendations on the sugar and salt content of foods.

He believes it may be easier for the public if they are given information on calories rather than sugar, salt or fat content.

Jim McNeill, managing director of Kellogg's Ireland, said: "We will continue to listen to people to see how we can improve our food."

He said it was clear that people were eating too much sugar during the day and the company was launching a new low-sugar vegan cereal next year.

Irish Independent

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