26 Sep

New study slams cereal manufacturers for depicting unrealistic portion sizes

A new study, which has been published in the British Dental Journal, has criticised cereal manufacturers for depicting portion sizes that are far too large. Experts believe that cereal boxes show serving suggestions that are far bigger than a standard portion, which could confuse consumers and contribute to excessive sugar consumption.
Researchers discovered that popular cereals, including Frosties, Coco Pops and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, are packaged in boxes emblazoned with images of bowls overflowing with cereal. In some cases, the pictures show a serving size of approximately 90 grams, despite the fact that most manufacturers recommend a portion size of 30 grams. According to the new study, if the imagery was correct, children aged up to 10 could be consuming more than half their daily sugar intake in a single bowl of cereal.
As part of the study, researchers analysed the packaging and nutritional information of 13 popular cereal products. They discovered that the sugar content of several well-known options equated to more than a third of the total weight. The team also claim that if the imagery on the box was used as a template for buyers, 8 of the 13 cereals analysed would provide a child between the ages of 4 and 6 with more than 50% of their recommended daily intake of sugar.
Maria Morgan, study author and senior lecturer at Cardiff University, said that it was “impossible to know if manufacturers are deliberately tricking people,” but suggested that misleading images could contribute to excessive sugar consumption. Ms Morgan also claimed that it was likely that families from low-income backgrounds would be worst affected by such images.
The study has been published a month after NHS England’s chief encouraged food manufacturers to review and revise the sugar content of the products they sell.