"There is growing interest in the foods we eat and how they can contribute to a healthier diet," said Dr Clare Chapman, Nestlé nutritionist. "In the UK nearly half the population chooses cereal for breakfast, with 30 million bowls being consumed every day. Those people who choose Nestlé breakfast cereals will now benefit from the inclusion of whole grain in their diets."
Nestlé said that this decision will help make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices - though the company is no doubt hoping that it will also make its balance sheet healthier.
The firm has announced a slight dip in sales across its food businesses for the first quarter of 2005 and said that price rises and new product launches would be essential to ensure it meets its full-year targets.
The company already increased prices by two per cent during the first quarter to offset high raw material costs, especially for milk.
As from June, Nestlé breakfast cereal packets will, moreover, carry 'calories per serve' on the front of the pack as well as guideline daily amounts of total fat, sugar and whole grain per serving.
Nestlé - like General Mills who announced last October that all Big G breakfast cereals were to be made with whole grains - assured the public that taste has not been sacrificed in the drive to produce healthier cereals.
General Mills, one of the world's largest cereal producers, was the first major company to make such a commitment to using whole grains, something which is supported by a number of health experts.
Whole grains are known to contain a mix of naturally occurring antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein, very similar to fruit and vegetables.
Recent research has shown that over 90 per cent of the UK population is falling short of eating the recommended three servings of whole grain per day, and over 25 per cent are failing to consume any whole grain at all. An increase in the consumption of whole grain has important public health implications.
"The growing emphasis on the importance of whole grain foods in the diet has been recognised by the UK Food Standards Agency and the European Union. Both recently commissioned major research projects into exactly how whole grain can help reduce risks of major diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This research will help us to understand the importance of including whole grain in our diets, and the role it plays in helping us to keep healthy," said Professor David Richardson of the EU Healthgrain Project.