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Nestle sticking with cereal nutrition strategy

By Neil Merrett , 10-Apr-2009
Last updated on 14-Apr-2009 at 15:05 GMT

As breakfast cereal makers come under scrutiny this week following both clinical backing and criticism of their nutrition commitments, one leading manufacturer says it will stick to its strategy of providing a balanced range of products.

A spokesperson for Nestle told BakeryandSnacks.com that, while the company was committed to ongoing reformulation for a healthier range of breakfast cereals, it was still providing sweeter, more taste-focused products as well.

Hilary Green, head of communications for Nestle’s research and development arm, said the company held specific policies on reducing salt and sugar in its brands, though was committed to balancing consumer health with certain taste profiles.

The comments come after a week of mixed fortunes for the group’s cereal brands.

Consumer attacks

Nestle was one of a number of manufacturers attacked this week by Australian consumer group, The Parents Jury, which claimed breakfast sold in the country had the largest discrepancy between nutritional value and promotional claims.

Along with criticisms of the products of rivals like Kellogg’s, Nestle's Milo cereal was one of 14 products criticised over its sugar content, with the report underling levels of 29.5g per 100g, nearly six times more than the guidelines outlined by consumer group Choice.

Health research

Conversely, new industry sponsored research appearing in the British Nutrition Foundation's periodical, Nutrition Bulletin, reported some benefits for weight management from certain cereal products.

The study suggested that overweight and obese participants who ate breakfast cereals like Nestle's shredded wheat or Fitnesse brand once a day for a six-week period, lost weight after just two weeks.

"These results confirm that ready-to-eat cereals are an effective short-term weight loss strategy when used as a meal replacement," reported the study researchers from Oxford's Brookes University.

The study, sponsored by Cereal Partners UK, the Nestle-General Mills joint venture that claims over 25 per cent of the £1.3 billion UK cereal market, also revealed that subjects who opted for a variety of cereals witnessed enhanced weight-loss over participants eating just a single cereal type.

A report on the study can be found here .

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