Nestlé lauds ‘health by stealth’ cereal tactics

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image supplied by Cereal Partners UK
Image supplied by Cereal Partners UK

Related tags Fibre Cereal Nestlé

Cereal Partners UK (CPUK), the maker of Nestlé breakfast cereals, says it is removing an estimated 59 million teaspoons of sugar and 3 million teaspoons of salt from its products, as it continues its staggered ‘salami slice’ reformulation approach to improve the nutritional profile of its cereals.

By the end of 2021, this means there will be up to 16% less sugar and 50% less salt across Coco Shreddies, Frosted Shreddies, Honey Cheerios, Nesquik, Cookie Crisp and Golden Nuggets. The small and gradual reductions – which CPUK refer to as the ‘salami-slice’ approach - has allowed the business to maintain taste, while improving its products’ nutritional content, including the addition of more whole grains to its cereals.

Part of a longer-term reformulation journey, the changes also mean the products no longer have any red traffic lights under the government’s current front of pack labelling scheme. For example, Nesquik is moving from an amber to green traffic light for salt, and from a red to amber traffic light for sugar.

Coco Shreddies, Frosted Shreddies, Honey Cheerios, Nesquik, Cookie Crisp and Golden Nuggets will also join a number of CPUK’s other family-favourite products, including Shredded Wheat, Shreddies Original and Multigrain Cheerios, in being classified as non-high in fat, sugar and salt (non-HFSS) according to the UK Government’s Nutrient profiling model, according to the company.

Gharry Eccles, Vice President UK & Oceania, Cereal Partners Worldwide (Nestlé & General Mills), said: “The sugar and salt reductions we’ve achieved this year are evidence of our long-term commitment and ambitious plans to improve the nutritional value of our cereals. Our journey began in 2003, and our priority has been to maintain the same great taste consumers know and love, while simultaneously providing options that are convenient, affordable and nutritious.

“I’m pleased with the strides we have made as a business. There’s no doubt this is a significant milestone for us, and we are committed to playing our part in encouraging healthier lifestyles in the UK.”

The reductions in 2021 are the latest in CPUK’s 18 year-long reformulation strategy, which sees the company achieve small sugar and salt reductions at regular intervals, while increasing whole grain content and at the same time, maintaining the taste profile.

As a result of increasing whole grain content, CPUK claimed it added 106 million more 16g servings of whole grain to its cereals between 2010 and 2020, and all products with the signature front-of-pack green banner have whole grain as their number one ingredient. With the UK’s recommended fibre intake for adults sitting at 30g per day​, choosing breakfast cereals containing whole grain is an easy way to increase fibre intake.

Julie Foster, Nutrition, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager, Cereal Partners Worldwide UK & Oceania, added: “We’ve found little and often to be the most successful method of product renovation – the salami slice approach.  It means we’ve been able to increase whole grain content in parallel to our sugar reduction work to create a ‘sugar vs. whole grain’ seesaw pattern across many of our brands. For example, back in 2003, Golden Nuggets contained no whole grain at all, and now it’s the number one ingredient. This approach marks our commitment to constant improvement and providing breakfast meals with key fibre and micronutrients to millions of people in the UK.

“We are also innovating to create new, low sugar versions of family favourites. Having launched our low-sugar Shreddies The Simple One earlier this year, last week we added another new and delicious low-sugar NPD to our portfolio, Cheerios Vanilla O’s, which has less than 5% sugar. We know we can still go further and are excited for what’s next.”

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