Some breakfast cereals contain the same levels of sugar or salt as a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps, Which? reveals today.
Others give you almost the same amount of fat as a thick pork sausage or a McDonald’s McBacon Roll, while a few contain the same amount of saturated fat as eating two fried eggs.
We looked at 275 cereals from a range of shops and manufacturers and compared the amounts of sugar, salt and fat against the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) proposed ‘traffic light’ labelling scheme.
We have used the red, amber and green colour coding from the FSA’s proposed traffic light labelling criteria to show whether levels of salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat per 100g are high, medium or low.
Of those cereals scoring a red for sugar, both Asda and Morrison’s Golden Puffs were rated the worst offenders and contained the highest amount of sugar at 55g per 100g.
Nine cereals contained more than four teaspoons of sugar per suggested portion and only 13 per cent scored a green traffic light for sugar.
A worrying 88 per cent of the cereals targeted at children were high in sugar, while 13 per cent were high in salt and 10 per cent were high in saturated fat.
The three worst offenders overall were Quaker Oatso Simple Kids (any flavour), Kellogg’s Coco Pops Straws and Mornflake Pecan and Maple Crisp.
All of these are high in sugar and saturated fat; Kellogg’s Coco Pop Straws contain the same amount of sugar as a two-finger Kit Kat (34g per 100g).
Sue Davies, Chief Policy Adviser at Which? said: ‘While manufacturers have made some efforts to reduce the salt levels in their breakfast cereals, we still found lots of products with high levels of salt as well as high levels of sugar. Despite their healthy image, some cereals also have high levels of fat and saturates.’
‘We want manufacturers to make further cuts to sugar and salt levels, reduce fat (including saturates) and sugar and remove all unnecessary trans fats, as well as marketing their products more responsibly,’ she added.
Sue Davies also called on manufacturers to adopt the FSA’s traffic light labelling system so that people can identify cereals high in fat, salt and sugar at a glance. However, some have already snubbed the FSA system and created their own versions.
For a copy of the Which? Cereals Re-offenders Report and to find out which cereals’ contain the most sugar, go to www.which.co.uk/cereals.