Notice any difference between the 2 packaging above for the same product by Kellogg’s?
The one marketed and sold in UK contains no artificial colors. Also it turns out that UK branches of the major food companies (Wal Mart, Kraft, Coca Cola and Mars) have removed artificial colors, the preservative sodium benzoate, and even aspartame from their products.
What? I was mad when I read that, I was furious that these companies have shown that they can actually make ‘healthy products” for the overseas market but will not do that for the US market. I am saying healthy with a grain of salt as both the products still contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (see Ingredient list below) but still removing the artificial colors, sodium benzoate, and aspartame is a big step in making these products healthier.
There’s been plenty of research that shows that these dyes pose cancer risk (there’s been a 9.4% increase in childhood cancer between 1992 and 2007), can cause ADHD in children and even give the children allergies. Hmmmm… so why not remove them in the US products?
My first instinct was that maybe the cost of making the nutri grain “healthier” is too much and it is somewhat expensive for the mainstream US, since US as a % of our paycheck spends the lowest amount of money on food when compared to its counterparts. I decided to look up the price of the same product sold in both.
It sells for £ 1.91 in UK and converting it to US $ it costs around $3.11 (keep in mind both conversion rate and the price can fluctuate depending on where you buy it) and the 8 pack Nutri Grain Strawberry costs US $3.45/ 8 bar packet (*prices will vary based on where you are looking. I got my number from Amazon)
Ok so it’s not cost because both the products are roughly the same price. So why not just sell the same product here and give the American Kids a somewhat healthier product?
There are two sides to the answer — 1) the FDA doesn’t want to ban these dyes. They are hiding under the umbrella of “more research” needed. and 2) companies for some reason don’t want to change the formulation for the US markets.
So what can you do?
1) Every single product has a brand manager behind it, whose job is to stay on top of customer feedback. Email/Call these companies and give them your feedback. If the big companies decide to miss these new business opportunities, then there are going to be new entrants in the market so you put your money there.
2) Choose products that are made “naturally”. I use this term loosely because natural can also be a misleading word in how the US companies use this word to market their products You really have to look at ingredient list to understand what’s in the products.
3) Minimize the packaged food at home. Not buying these things really does cut your grocery bills down. At $3.45/per 8 packets you can buy 2 frozen berries packet and use that to make breakfast smoothie.
4) Laying the foundation for this idea…will have something on it in the next few days on how we can join together to bring this change.. Stay Tuned!
Ingredients List for the Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bar
|UK Version of the Product Ingredients|
|Cereals (34%) (Wheat Flour, Whole Oats, Wheat Bran), Glucose-fructose Syrup, Sugar, Strawberry (8%), Fructose, Vegetable Oil, Humectant (Glyceral), Maltodextrin, Honey, Dextrose, Calcium Carrrrrreeeeder3edc cbng bhbonate, Stabilisers (Sodium Alginate, Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum), Modified Starch, Dried Skimmed Milk, Salt, Flavourings, Raising Agent (Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate), Emulsifires (E472e, E471, Soy Lecithin), Colour (Anthocyanins, Paprika Extract), Wheat Gluten, Starch, Malic Acid, Calcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12.|
US Version of the Product Ingredients
CRUST: WHOLE GRAIN OATS, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SOYBEAN OIL (WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID FOR FRESHNESS), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, SUGAR, CALCIUM CARBONATE, WHEY, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, CELLULOSE, POTASSIUM BICARBONATE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, WHEAT GLUTEN, CORNSTARCH, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CARRAGEENAN, ZINC OXIDE, REDUCED IRON, GUAR GUM, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID. FILLING:HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, STRAWBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, GLYCERIN, SUGAR, WATER, SODIUM ALGINATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM CITRATE, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, METHYLCELLULOSE, CARAMEL COLOR, MALIC ACID, RED #40