EUK — Cereal giant Kellogg’s is disputing the legality of new High Fat Salt Sugar (HFSS) legislation, says the rules are unreasonable as they fail to consider the nutritional value of the milk added to the product.
“We believe the formula being used by the government to measure the nutritional value of breakfast cereals is wrong and not implemented legally. It measures cereals dry when they are almost always eaten with milk” said Kellogg’s UK MD Chris Silcock.
The company says independent market data shows cereals are eaten with milk or yoghurt in 92% of cases.
Including added milk would change the calculation by reducing the proportion of sugar and salt content relative to the weight of the overall serving.
“All of this matters because, unless you take account of the nutritional elements added when cereal is eaten with milk, the full nutritional value of the meal is not measured.”
Obesity campaigners however, take the view that Kellogg’s is making a joke of a well-meaning legislation.
Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance, said: “It’s shocking that a company like Kellogg’s would sue the government over its plans to help people be healthier rather than investing in removing sugar from their cereals.”
The government said the new rules would help tackle childhood obesity. Under the new regulations for England, retailer promotions on food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar will be restricted.
Products covered by the restrictions will also not be allowed to be featured in key locations such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents.
Popular brands such as Crunchy Nut, Corn Flakes and Fruit and Fibre are classified as foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt in their dry form and so retailers may be prevented from displaying such products in prominent positions.
As applied, the legislation, would demote Kellogg’s products as currently formulated from promotions and prime shelf estate because of their sugar content, harming sales.
In a statement, Kellogg’s said it had “tried to have a reasonable conversation with government” over the issue without success – hence their legal challenge.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Breakfast cereals contribute 7% – a significant amount – to the average daily free sugar intakes of children”.
“Restricting the promotion and advertising of less healthy foods is an important part of the cross-government strategy to halve childhood obesity by 2030, prevent harmful diseases and improve healthy life expectancy, so we can continue to level up health across the nation.”
The law is targeted at making healthier options more attractive, improving people’s diets and reducing children’s sugar intake and will come into force from October 1st 2022.
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