In plane sight: Consumer watchdog commissions Kellogg’s HQ flyover to protest Mexican micronutrient shrinkage

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The Changing Markets Foundation has commissioned a plane to flyover Kellogg's Michigan headquarters today. Pic: ©GettyImages/HAKINMHAN/Kellogg's
The Changing Markets Foundation has commissioned a plane to flyover Kellogg's Michigan headquarters today. Pic: ©GettyImages/HAKINMHAN/Kellogg's

Related tags Vitamin d Breakfast cereals Mexico Changing Markets Foundation

The Changing Markets Foundation is taking its objections up a notch to the alleged removal of essential vitamins and minerals in Kellogg’s breakfast cereals sold in Mexico.

The consumer watchdog has commissioned a plane to fly over the breakfast giant’s headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, to coincide with the company’s annual general meeting today.

A banner with the message ‘Kellogg’s: Stop breaking your breakfast promise’ will be strapped to the plane.

Deserve to know

Earlier this year, the organization released a report alleging that Kellogg’s – over the course of five years – had removed key micronutrients from its popular cereal brands sold in Mexico.

It claimed this was in clear violation of the company’s ‘breakfast promise’ to fortify its cereals with the nutrients specific to the needs of the local population, especially those aimed at children.

“We’re flying a banner over Kellogg’s headquarters because we want shareholders to know that Kellogg’s has broken it’s ‘breakfast promise’”,​ Alice Delemare Tangpuori, campaigns adviser for the Changing Markets Foundation, told BakeryandSnacks.

“Despite declarations of good intent, the company has failed to explain why they are removing essential vitamins and minerals from their most popular cereals in Mexico, when deficiencies remain high.

“Kellogg’s might hide behind its family-friendly brand, but our report uncovers the truth about their practices in Mexico; now their shareholders, customers and community deserve to know, too,” ​she added.

“If Kellogg’s is serious about its commitments to tackle malnutrition, it must put its money where its mouth is and ensure that all of its cereals contain the essential micronutrients that people in Mexico lack.”

Proactive and transparent

When the Foundation’s ‘Cereal Offender’ report was released in February, BakeryandSnacks received the following comments from Kellogg’s spokesperson Kris Bahner:

”Kellogg Company has been proactive and transparent with consumers about the rebalancing of the micronutrients in our cereals, through communication on pack and in advertising and marketing materials.”

“The cereals cited in the report are designed for a Latin America consumer and meet a broader set of regulatory and nutritional requirements across the region,” ​she told this site.

“We regularly make modifications to our portfolio to comply with these requirements and rebalance around evolving nutritional deficiencies and needs as communicated to us by regional health authorities and our consumers. For example, vitamin D was added to some cereals in 2013, after it was identified as a critically deficient nutrient in Latin American diets in 2011."

She added, “The company's cereals remain fortified and an excellent source of nutrition for consumers and reports like this one can be misleading and often fail to paint the full picture.”

Kellogg's declined to comment further on the issue or on the planned flyover.

Vitamin D in Europe

Meanwhile, the breakfast cereal maker has announced its corn flakes sold in Europe will be made of 100% responsibly sourced corn,​grown by farmers in Argentina.

The company is adding a ‘Responsibly Sourced Corn’ label to all packages sold in stores across the continent to highlight that the RTE cereal contains 50% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D.

The company said ‘The criteria to determine that the corn is responsibly sourced includes environmental, social and governance factors, based on a standard developed by Kellogg and modeled on those used by well-recognized, international non-governmental industry groups’.

The move is in line with the company’s sustainability goal of responsibly sourcing 10 priority ingredients by the end of 2025, including corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, sugar beets, sugar cane, fruits, palm oil, vanilla and cocoa.

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