A mum has accused Weetabix of hoodwinking parents over the sugar content of its Oatibix Bitesize cereal.
Oatibix and Oatibix Bitesize packs look similar, but the ingredients list reveals that Bitesize – which has been marketed at children – contains four times more sugar, at 14.2g per 100g.
Mother Valerie Penrose contacted Which? after she bought Bitesize for her nine-year-old son Leo, who liked Weetabix.
She said: ‘He tried them and said: “Yuk! These taste sweet,” and didn’t want to eat them. I looked at the packets and was astonished at the difference in sugar.’
Valerie complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a magazine advert that said kids would love Bitesize, asserting it should have mentioned the difference in levels of sugar.
Her complaint wasn’t upheld because the watchdog said consumers wouldn’t expect the products to be exactly the same and wouldn’t be swayed by the difference when deciding which to buy.
It added that the level of sugar per serving was only a small proportion of a child’s guideline daily amount.
Valerie said: ‘I was disappointed with the decision, as I believe parents will think the products are the same. The company should be more upfront about the content.’
Traffic light labels
Which? kids’ food campaigner Miranda Watson said: ‘The company should make it clear that there’s less sugar in the regular version, so parents who want a low-sugar cereal don’t pick Bitesize by mistake.’
Which? couldn’t find another cereal bite-sized version that contained more sugar. Weetabix told us that both products had good ‘health credentials’ and ingredients were listed on packs and online.
It added that the sugar in Bitesize was below what the Food Standards Agency would classify as ‘high’. However, at 14.2g per100g, it’s just below the red traffic light level of 15g.