Initiative shows gains in cereal nutrition content

by Eric Schroeder
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ARLINGTON, VA. — More of the cereals advertised to children by participants of the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative contain whole grains or a larger quantity of whole grains than before, according to a “2012 Cereals Snapshot” just issued by the C.F.B.A.I., which is a self-regulated program administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The snapshot looked at the nutrition content of 21 cereals in the participants’ 2012 child-directed advertising, focusing on nutrients to limit, such as calories, saturated and trans fat, sodium and sugars, and nutrition components to encourage, including whole grains, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The C.F.B.A.I. currently has 16 participants, and 4 of those offer cereals: General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Co., PepsiCo, Inc., and Post Foods, L.L.C.

Seventy-one per cent of the cereals were found to have at least a half serving (8 grams) of whole grains, and a third now have at least 12 grams. More than one-third also have more whole grains than any other ingredient, and whole grains are the first ingredient listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

All of the cereals were at least a good source of two of seven specific nutrients highlighted by the C.F.B.A.I., and more than half were a good source of five nutrients. The nutrients highlighted by the C.F.B.A.I. are calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamins A, C and D, and iron.

Before the creation of the C.F.B.A.I., some cereals advertised to children had 15 or 16 grams of sugars per serving, but in the October update the C.F.B.A.I. noted over one-third of the cereals have less than 10 grams of sugars per serving. Under the C.F.B.A.I., participants are committed to advertise only cereals with no more than 12 grams of added sugars per serving.

“In 2012, many cereals that the C.F.B.A.I. participants advertise to children are even better than they were in 2011, and more changes are under way,” the C.F.B.A.I. said. “The C.F.B.A.I.’s adoption of new uniform nutrition criteria, which go into effect in December 2013, will lead to further improvements in this product category.”

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