Cereal Partners Worldwide is to reduce the amount of sugar used in the Nestle-branded breakfast cereals it markets in the UK.
Nestle said the venture, which it operates with General Mills, was “committed” to reducing the level of sugar across its cereal range by an average of 10% by the end of next year. The company pointed out it had cut the average sugar content of its cereals in the UK by 15% since 2010.
The group said the latest reduction would be achieved by a “combination” of reformulation and by “growing the share of lower sugar variants”.
Asked if Nestle could provide an example of how much sugar, measured in grams, would be reduced in a specific cereal, a spokesperson said: “We are not announcing specific changes to brands at this stage. Over the coming months, we will introduce revised products that make incremental reductions on sugar in different ways that, when added up, make a big difference overall to the nation’s diet while still maintaining great taste.”
In a statement, Gharry Eccles, Cereal Partners Worldwide’s UK regional vice president, said: “We believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day and our cereals provide vitamins, minerals and fibre to the diet. We also know that breakfast cereals can play a part in the efforts to reduce sugar consumption across the nation. Offering consumers healthier and tastier cereals is one of our top priorities and we are determined to make breakfast even better for everyone.”
Eccles added all the Nestle cereals sold in the UK will be free from artificial flavourings and colourings by the end of the year.
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“Making these improvements is crucial to us offering better choices for our consumers while retaining the same great taste,” he added.
In February, Nestle announced a “global commitment” to cut the sugar in its food by 5% by 2020.
Last summer, the UK government issued a voluntary programme for food and drink manufacturers operating in the country to reduce the overall sugar in a range of products by at least 20% over four years.
The move was among a range of initiatives the UK government unveiled to tackle childhood obesity in England. Health policy is a devolved issue in the UK.
Public Health England, the UK government’s executive agency for health policy in England, described Cereal Partners Worldwide’s plan as “a major move”.
Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “While there is a long way to go to drive sugar consumption down to recommended levels, we believe this announcement will encourage other companies to make significant reductions and produce healthier products to meet the Government’s 20% target by 2020.”