EXCLUSIVE-Nestle to cut sugar and salt in breakfast cereals
Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children's Food Campaign of Britain's Sustain charity, which seeks to protect children from junk food marketing, was sceptical about the Nestle move.
"Reformulating is great, but the question is how they then talk about their products. They can't talk about them being healthy. They will be mildly less unhealthy than they were before," he said.
Harmening defended breakfast cereals as a low-calorie, high-nutrition option and said children who eat them tend to have a lower body mass index than those who do not.
Kellogg - which makes some of the sweetest cereals according to several surveys - has also reformulated some brands in recent years to cut sugar, as has General Mills for the cereals it produces for the North American market.
McDonald's Corp is including apples and cutting calories in its Happy Meals for kids, while Kraft Foods Group Inc has stopped advertising Kool-Aid and Oreos to children. It has also cut sugar and salt in some products.
In a report earlier this year, Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity said U.S. cereal producers are offseting the benefits of cutting sugar and adding wholegrains by targeting kids with more ads for their unhealthiest products.
"There is a fundamental difference between what the food industry thinks is improvement and what the public health community thinks is improvement," said Dr Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. Continued...