Nestlé’s 18-year-long ‘salami slice’ reformulation approach jettisons 59 million teaspoons of sugar

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

By the end of 2021, CPUK will have eliminated up to 59 million teaspoons of sugar from its popular breakfast cereals. Pic: GettyImages/Clarkland Company
By the end of 2021, CPUK will have eliminated up to 59 million teaspoons of sugar from its popular breakfast cereals. Pic: GettyImages/Clarkland Company

Related tags: Nestlé, General mills, Cereal partners worldwide, HFSS, Public health england, sugar reduction, Breakfast cereals, Sodium reduction, Whole grain, Traffic light labelling

Cereal Partners UK’s (CPUK) gradual reformulation approach means it will have removed 59 million teaspoons of sugar and three million teaspoons of salt by the end of the year to bring its popular products in line with the UK government’s non-HFSS model.

By the end of 2021, millions of Brits will be starting the day off with a bang, knowing their breakfast of Coco Shreddies, Frosted Shreddies, Honey Cheerios, Cookie Crisp or Golden Nuggets contain up to 16% less sugar and 50% less salt.

Off the red list

The ‘salami slice’ approach is part of an 18 year-long reformulation strategy adopted by the Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) – a joint venture between Nestlé & General Mills – to improve the nutritional profile of its popular brands. The changes also mean the products are no longer defined as a red traffic light under the UK government’s front of pack labelling scheme.

“It’s about positive nutrition and making informed changes. We have maintained the taste with the salami slice approach and now 11 of our 12 best sellers are off the red list,”​ said Gharry Eccles, VP UK & Oceania, CPW.

Coco Shreddies, Frosted Shreddies, Honey Cheerios, Nesquik, Cookie Crisp and Golden Nuggets join a number of CPUK’s other products – like Shredded Wheat, Shreddies Original and Multigrain Cheerios – in being classified as non-high in fat, sugar and salt (non-HFSS) according to the UK government’s Nutrient profiling model.

“The sugar and salt reductions we’ve achieved this year are evidence of our long-term commitment and ambitious plans to improve the nutritional value of our cereals,”​ added Eccles.

“Our journey began in 2003, and our priority has been to maintain the same great taste consumers know and love, while simultaneously providing options that are convenient, affordable and nutritious.”

“I’m pleased with the strides we have made as a business. There’s no doubt this is a significant milestone for us, and we are committed to playing our part in encouraging healthier lifestyles in the UK.”

Pumping up the fibre

CPW has also taken the reformulation opportunity to add more whole grain to the breakfast cereals. The cereal giant said it added 106 million more 16g servings of whole grain to its cereals between 2010 and 2020, and all products with the signature front-of-pack green banner have whole grain as their number one ingredient.

“We’ve found [the salami slice approach] – little and often – to be the most successful method of product renovation,”​ added Julie Foster, nutrition, regulatory and scientific affair manager, UK & Oceania, CPW.

“It means we’ve been able to increase whole grain content in parallel to our sugar reduction work to create a ‘sugar vs. whole grain’ seesaw pattern across many of our brands. For example, back in 2003, Golden Nuggets contained no whole grain at all, and now it’s the number one ingredient.

“This approach marks our commitment to constant improvement and providing breakfast meals with key fibre and micronutrients to millions of people in the UK.”

CPUK’s response to HFSS-complaint push

The CPG major has ramped up efforts to roll out versions of its family favourites that are compliant with the UK government’s non-HFSS (high in fat, sugar or salt) guidelines.

In April, it launched Shreddies The Simple One, a better-for-you variant of Shreddies made from whole grain wheat, fruit puree, date syrup and a pinch of salt with 5% less sugar. The non-HFSS cereal also contains no refined sugar and is free from artificial colours and flavours.

Toby Baker, regional marketing director, UKA, Nestlé Cereals, said: “The launch of Shreddies The Simple One marks a milestone in our promise to make breakfast better. While we are on an ongoing reformulation journey, having reduced average sugar in our products by 20.6% since 2010, this launch highlights our new innovative approach to NPD, in which we are not just reducing negative nutrients, but starting with less – just four ingredients in this case. Being a non-HFSS and all green traffic light product, it also supports our wider commitment to ensuring the majority of our cereals are non-HFSS by the end of 2021.”

At the end of September, Nestlé also debuted the HFSS-compliant Cheerios Vanilla O’s, which has less than 5% sugar, but pumps in with 86% whole grain.

The cereal also has no artificial colours or flavours, and is enriched with vitamins and minerals. It is rolling out on Sainsbury’s shelves across the UK for an RRP of £2.69 for a 360g box.

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