Friday, 21 February 2020
Report on finding healthier breakfast cereals and yogurts in Ireland published
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published a report which describes the findings of a 2017 survey of products in the breakfast cereals and yogurts food categories, which are two of the categories in the food pyramid included in the Healthy Eating, Food Safety and Food Legislation guidelines. The nutrient composition of over 1,000 products was examined and some products were identified as being exceptionally high in sugar, fat and saturated fat. In fact, some breakfast cereals were found to be more like crumbled biscuits, and some yogurts were more like desserts.
This report outlines new information for healthcare, education, catering and food industry professionals regarding the availability of ‘healthier choice’ products among the hundreds of breakfast cereals and yogurts on the Irish market. This report is based on the “back of pack” nutrition labelling requirements that were introduced for all pre-packaged food throughout the EU in December 2016 (Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011). While the nutrition label on all foods provides reliable nutrition information per 100 g of product, this can be difficult to interpret in terms of the amount of food typically eaten by an individual. Typical portion size varies hugely depending on the type of food and such portions rarely amount to 100 g. The report provides useful information for healthcare, education, catering and food industry professionals on how to identify healthier products where the typical portion eaten is low in sugar, fat and saturated fat.
This report also establishes a baseline on which to benchmark future progress on food reformulation, whereby the food industry changes their product composition to reduce the amounts of sugar, salt, total fat and saturated fat. Such reformulation by the food industry represents an important contribution to the reduction of obesity and associated long-term diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in the population.