Researchers for the Dispatches television programme, which was broadcast yesterday, said that a Tesco jam doughnut contained 8.6g of sugar while 30g of Kellogg’s Frosties includes 11.1g of sugar.
Similarly, 30g servings of Nestlé Honey Cheerio’s, Kellogg’s Coco Pops, and Sugar Puffs contained 10.53g, 10.2g, and 10.5g respectively.
The programme also revealed that 30g bowl of Kellogg’s cornflakes has more salt than a bag of Walkers Ready Salted crisps.
And, in light of the investigation, the British Heart Foundation has accused cereal manufacturers of misleading parents about high levels of salt, sugar and fat in their products.
However, Kellogg’s, rejected the criticisms saying that their products are clearly labelled with guideline daily amounts (GDA) of nutrients. It said that every pack of its cereals carries GDA labelling to help shoppers see exactly how many calories and how much salt, fat and sugar is in our food.
“The reality is a single serving of Frosties or Coco Pops has the same amount of sugar in it as glass of orange juice or a banana,” it stated.
“While a bowl of Rice Krispies gives you less than a tenth of your daily allowance for salt, less salt than you’d find in one slice of dry wholemeal bread,” argues the cereal manufacturer.
Kellogg's also stated that their cereals contained far less sugar levels that sweets and crisps.
The company cited recent research which reveals that British children are spending almost £650m a year on a corner shop breakfast of crisps, chocolate bars and meat snacks on the way to school.
The UK’s Food Standards Agency recently launched a new campaign to encourage people to check salt levels on food labels.
The FSA started its salt reduction campaign in 2004. It is aiming to reduce adults’ intake to 6g per day, since excess salt consumption can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
The current average is 8.6g – way above the recommendation but a gram a day less than before the campaign started, the agency says.
It has set out salt reduction targets for industry for 2010 and 2012 for different food categories, but since salt often plays a technical role it is not always as easy as simply building back the flavour.
“We‘ve been working closely with food manufacturers and retailers to encourage them to use less salt in their foods, and are pleased with the progress that is being made. But there is still a wide variation of salt levels in different brands, which is why it is so important that people check the labels.”
Meanwhile, Julian Hunt, director of communications at the Food and Drink Federation recently drew attention to the work food companies in the UK have done on reducing the salt in products like bread, breakfast cereals, cooking sauces, snacks and soups.
“Our members are totally committed to helping consumers eat more healthily – and reformulation is just one of the ways in which we will continue to make a real difference,” he said.