Thursday, 06 February 2020
There is a wide range of products available on the Irish market in the breakfast cereal and yogurt food categories, which provides consumers with choice.
The majority of breakfast cereal and yogurt products available on the Irish market were studied. Depending on the amounts of sugar, fat and saturated fat – and, in the case of breakfast cereals, fibre and salt – declared on the label, these products were described as ‘Healthier Choice’ or ‘Other’. The criteria used to identify ‘Healthier Choice’ options were based on nutrition claim definitions, with some slight adjustments in order to ensure that a reasonable proportion of food products could meet the ‘Healthier Choice’ descriptions proposed.
More than 450 breakfast cereals (n=453) and more than 570 yogurts (n=578), available on the Irish market from July 2016 to March 2017, were studied.
The application of nutritional cut-offs for ‘low sugar’, ‘low fat’ and ‘low saturated fat’ – and, for breakfast cereals in particular, ‘low salt’ and ‘source of fibre’ – resulted in only 13% of breakfast cereals and 24% of yogurts meeting the proposed ‘Healthier Choice’ criteria. This indicates a challenging food environment for consumers trying to make healthier eating choices.
Some products were found to be exceptionally high in sugar, while others were extremely high in fat and saturated fat, so that some breakfast cereals were more like a crumbled biscuits and some yogurts were more like dessert.