Cereal killers: sugar levels to drop for many popular brands

Irish are fourth-largest consumers of sugar, averaging 24 teaspoons each day

 

The amount of sugar in many popular brands found on Irish supermarket shelves is set to tumble over the coming months.

Kellogg’s yesterday announced plans to cut more than 723 tons of sugar from its cereals — including the likes of Frosties and Coco Pops — next year. The company declined to say how much sugar would be cut from individual brands.

The sugar content of processed food has hit the headlines in the Republic in recent weeks in the wake of the screening of the Sugar Crash documentary presented by Dr Eva Orsmond.

The programme investigated Ireland’s unhealthy relationship with sugar – we are the world’s fourth largest consumers of sugar, each of us taking an average of 24 teaspoons of the stuff a day, most of it hidden in the food we eat.

Some key players in the soft drinks industry have also pledged to cut sugar levels by 10-20 per cent over the next four years.

The calorie count of Coca-Cola’s leading products was cut by 5 per cent in 2014 and the market-leading brand has promised another drop of 5 per cent over the next nine years. Despite the calorie cuts, the seven teaspoons of sugar found in can of Coke will not be touched.

Unilever has also announced plans to cut back the size of single-serving ice creams, including Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Cornetto.

The company claimed it was taking the decision to shrink its products in order to “help consumers make healthier choices as part of a balanced lifestyle”. The smaller sizes will start appearing in the springtime.

“It was important there be no compromise to taste or quality and that’s exactly what we’ve delivered,” said Noel Clarke, brand building director for ice cream, Unilever UK & Ireland. “Our products will still taste as good as ever, but through a process of development and resizing we will ensure our entire single-serve ice cream portfolio will contain 250 calories or fewer.”

As yet, there is no indication if prices will fall in line with the product shrinkage, although if past examples are anything to go by, consumers should not be holding out for any significant savings.

Brands which sell in both the Republic and the UK have been forced to respond amid mounting industry fears that the British government is weighing up the pros and cons of introducing a sugar tax.