A lot of food companies have been working toward improving the nutritional profiles of their products. The latest player, General Mills Inc, is lowering the amount of sugar in its breakfast cereals for children to no more than 10 grams per serving from 11 grams a year ago.
This is a move closer to its goal of reducing to single-digit level the number of grams of sugar per serving in all of its cereals advertised to children under 12.
One of the reasons the company has targeted breakfast cereals made for kids is the growing problem of obesity; more children are developing adult health problems such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
General Mills, which also sells Progresso soup and Yoplait yogurt, said it must reduce sugar in tiny, incremental steps, lest consumers notice the difference and stop buying.
“Consumers have a very keen idea of what these cereals ought to taste like and if you change the taste dramatically or suddenly, they’ll walk away from the brand,” Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills’ Big G cereal division, told Reuters. “We will not make changes if it reduces the taste of the product.”
Excess sugar intake in children and adults not only contributes to obesity, but is a key culprit in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Experts recommend that women eat no more than 25 grams of added processed sugar a day, and men no more than 37.5 grams.
According to MSNBC, General Mills’ brands targeted to adults often have less sugar. Fiber One has zero grams, Cheerios have 1 gram and Corn Chex has 3 grams of sugar per serving.