Cereal bar nutrition revealed
Although cereal bars are portrayed as being healthy snack alternatives, the consumer magazine ‘Which?’ has discovered the sugar-laden truth behind them. After analysing 30 cereal bars, Which? found that only one of them contained less than 30% sugar. One of the bars that has been promoted as being a ‘healthy’ snack contained four teaspoons of sugar, which is more than an average can of coke.
Aside from being high in sugar, other cereal bars analysed were found to have a high fat content. For example, the Tracker Roasted Nut bar was one third fat, and six out of seven bars aimed at children were laden with saturated fats. Finally, one bar targeted at children–‘Monster Puffs’–contained over 40% sugar.
In order to determine how unhealthy each cereal bar was, Which? chose to measure them against the nutritional traffic light system. This system grades food products against a colour scheme of green, orange, and red. While green is the healthiest, orange foods should be consumed cautiously, and reds very sparingly. Out of all the cereal bars tested, ‘Nakd Apple Pie’ was found to be completely sugar free. The Alpen Light’s apple and sultana bars received three green lights for sugar, fat, and salt content.
After completing their analysis, Which? have urged those who market such products to make them healthier before targeting children. Which?’s director Richard Lloyd pointed out that those who are choosing healthy snacks often opt for cereal bars while labouring under the misaprehension that they are always going to be the healthiest option. As it appears that is not the case, it is down to manufacturers to begin producing healthier alternatives that meet the expectations of consumers. In response to Which’s statements, Kelloggs replied stating that they were confused as to why people would class their ‘Elevenses’ bar as a cereal bar. The spokesperson commented that it looks like a cake and is not intended for breakfast time use, and should therefore not be criticised by Which?.