Earlier this week Yale University came out with a study that the least nutritious cereals such as Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops and Lucky Charms were among the cereals most aggressively marketed to children. Cereal advertising to children is a $146 million dollar market. My question is why not just market the healthier cereals first?
Not surprisingly another article today mentioned that the “Smart Choices” label has made its way to several of these low nutritious high sugar cereals. It amazes that these companies were able to work around the FDA guidelines on it. Perhaps the guidelines are just too loose and need to be more stringent. Anyways, the purpose of the “Smart Choices” logo was to enable busy parents with quick smarter and healthier decision making when they went grocery shopping, but looks like it has failed its purpose if the label can make its way on High Fat Mayonnaise, Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms cereals. Quite often these high cereals use some of our beloved characters such as Dora and Spongebob in the advertising.
For now General Mills and Kellogg and several leading food companies have back out of the “Smart Choices” program.
So what does that mean for us busy parents? Use or get a DVR to skip the 672 cereal ads (per the Yale University study) per year shown to the children while watching TV, not buy something just because it has a ‘Smart Choices” label on it, time to maybe start reading the labels, or relying on other sources of information on what is really healthy for children and use that as a guide for grocery shopping. I will soon post a blog on the healthier cereals.