Cereal bars aimed at children and marketed as being ideal for lunch boxes are packed full of added sugars and saturated fat, latest Which? research reveals.
All seven children’s cereal bars Which? analysed were high in sugar, and two – the Coco Pops snack bar and Monster Puffs cereal and milk chocolate bar – contained more than 40% added sugar.
Tempting cereal bar packaging
Packaging of the Monster Puffs cereal and milk chocolate bar and Harvest Chewee Milk Choc Chip bar promoted the fact that the bars contained ‘no artificial colours’ and were ‘great for your lunchbox’.
They didn’t mention that each bar contains between one and two teaspoons of sugar.
Rice Krispies Squares contain pork gelatine, making these bars unsuitable for vegetarians and those who don’t eat pork.
But it was not clearly labelled on the packaging – we found it buried in the ingredients as part of the marshmallow.
Cereal bars high in saturated fat
All the children’s bars we looked at were high in saturated fat except the Weetabix Oaty Strawberry Crusher.
This was the only one to also contain fruit in the bar – which offers nutritional benefits.
We also analysed standard cereal bars and found that, unless you know what to look for at a glance, the ingredients can appear much healthier than they are. Read Are cereals bars as healthy as you expect? for more.