Survey highlights salt reduction success for breakfast cereals

28th January 2015 

A recent survey by Action on Sugar has highlighted the increasing levels of sugar in breakfast cereals, and calls on cereal manufacturers to look to the success of the salt reduction programme and reduce sugars now.

Following a Which? breakfast cereal report carried out in 2012, Action on Sugar surveyed the same products to see whether any reductions in sugar and salt had been made in the last 3 years. Sadly, many of the products had failed to make any reductions, with some containing even MORE sugar than they did in 2012!

The survey also pointed out some notable achievements in salt reduction, with the likes of Lidl’s Crownfield Corn Flakes coming down by 60% and Simply M&S Cornflakes coming down by 36%. Many are already well on their way to achieving the Department of Healths salt target for breakfast cereals, with over 90% already achieving the maximum target of 1g/100g or less.

“It’s great to see manufacturers using less and less salt in their cereal products" says CASH nutritionist Sonia Pombo. “With so many of us eating cereals on a daily basis, it's important we give ourselves a good start to the day with a healthy breakfast that isn't packed with unnecesary levels of salt and sugar. As shown in this survey, there are many cereals in the market which provide healthier alternatives lower in salt and sugar".

High fibre, lower sugar and salt cereals can still play a part in a healthy diet, and if you read the labels you can find healthier options available. For example Shredded Wheat Original (0.7g/100g sugars)(which ranked the healthiest cereal in 2012), and Quaker Oats Oat So Simple Original (1.0g/100g sugars), both made with no added sugars, and Weetabix (4.4g/100g sugars).

Salt increases our blood pressure and puts us at risk of strokes, heart disease, kidney disease, stomach cancer and osteoporosis. This can start from any age, so it's important with give our children the best start in life and get them used to a diet that’s lower in salt and sugar. We should all be eating less than 6g of salt a day". 

We now call on all manufacturers to sign up to the Responsibility Deal 2017 targets and continue to reduce salt in their cereals. 

In the meantime, be more label savvy and use FoodSwitch to help choose healthier alternatives. Just scan the foods barcode and the free app will instantly give you information on the products fat, saturates, sugar and salt levels, along with healthier suggested alternatives. Use SaltSwitch if you are specifically interested in reducing your salt intake.