A teaspoon here - a teaspoon there - how sugar in our favourite products is being reduced - but have we noticed yet?

Sugar reduction is here to stay as part of the Government’s reformulation programme ‘achieving the 20%’ and our childhood favourites are now in line for redevelopment to bring us the same product…with less sugar. 

Kellogg’s recently announced their plans to cut the sugar content of some of our favourite cereal products to enable them to offer consumers a choice of healthy breakfast options. 

A rule of thumb for reducing sugar or salt for example would typically be to make a reduction of no more than 10% per year.  This usually goes undetected by the devoted cereal consumers as they gradually become familiar with the gentle reduction in sweetness whilst remaining oblivious to the health benefits.  It’s a courageous move by Kellogg’s to have set themselves some challenging targets to achieve huge reductions in the sugar content of some of their best-selling lines in 2018, and in some cases they will be discontinuing some old favourites.

However, breakfast options are changing due to changes in eating habits.  Today, fewer people are eating breakfast at home and therefore we have seen the development of ‘breakfast on the go’ products such as ’Weetabix on the go’ drink.  Many consumers no longer eat the traditional three meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but instead graze on a series of snacks through the day.  Will any decline in sales of the Kellogg’s reduced sugar products be confused with a decline in the eating occasion?

I am asking myself a question as I pass by many old favourites in the cereal aisle of my local supermarket…does this really address the issue of obesity and will consumers just add more sugar to their cereal?  Some of the big brands have achieved successful sugar and salt reduction in products such as Tomato Ketchup and Baked Beans and we now accept these without question or reaching for the sugar bowl.  The other question that I ask myself is how will this impact on health of the nation in years to come?

Kellogg’s have certainly stimulated some conversations and questions in my head and if you feel the same; then these issues and more will be covered in our Diet Quality & Health module and the associated half-day conference ‘Linking Alzheimer’s Disease with Diabetes: consequences for population health and the food and beverage industries’.

Libby Good
Senior Tutor AFTP and ex Food Product Developer


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