WASH urges cereal salt, sugar reduction

5 Dec 2016

A new international survey by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) has revealed huge differences in the sugar and salt content of global breakfast cereal brands between one countr and another.

WASH urges cereal salt, sugar reduction

A new international survey by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) has revealed huge differences in the sugar and salt content of global breakfast cereal brands.

Over half of cereals (58%) contained high levels of sugar (over 22.5g/100g) – nearly six teaspoons of sugar per 100g. Not one single product featured contained low levels of sugar.

WASH notes that the UK leads the way with salt reduction but still has a way to go with sugar reduction: Kellogg’s Frosties contains nine teaspoons of sugar/100g. 98 out of 291 (34%) of cereals surveyed were above the 2017 UK salt target for breakfast cereals.

WASH is now calling for all food manufacturers to universally reduce the salt and sugar content of their products to help achieve the global WHO maximum target of 5g salt per adult per day and 25g free sugars per day.

The survey, which selected 19 products manufactured by Kellogg’s and Nestle/General Mills from 29 countries for comparison, uncovered a difference in levels of salt and sugar found in the same branded breakfast cereals sold around the world. It found that over half of the cereals analysed (58%) have high levels of sugar, with 55% of the cereals surveyed containing half the daily recommended intake of free sugars of a three year old (15g/day) in one serving.

“Ironically, some countries may have benefited from the UK’s salt reduction plan by being supplied with cereals reformulated for the UK, showing how easy it is to reduce salt content,” said Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of WASH. “It is shocking that breakfast cereals still contain extremely high levels of salt and sugar. Kellogg’s and Nestle are the two main global manufacturers of breakfast cereal and they need to demonstrate that they can act in their customers’ interest to reduce sugar and salt levels to help save lives”.