We further improvE
the nutritional value of breakfast cereals
We will help people eat more fibre and whole grains by increasing the variety of our offer, and by making it easier for people to identify these products and understand their benefits.
We will continue our effort to reduce sugar, maintain low levels of salt, and work on reformulation, innovation, and fortification to offer healthier and tasty options to people.
We ask policymakers to review provisions on nutrition and health claims to make it possible for companies to communicate the public health benefits of products containing fibre and whole grains.
We ask policymakers to review and extend permitted uses of sweeteners and to harmonise the legal framework for fortification. The sugar reduction claims framework should be reviewed to make it possible to communicate small but nonetheless significant changes.
IIn 2018, the French breakfast cereal manufacturers committed to further reduce sugar in children and adolescents’ products by 7% on average by 2020. Between 2011 and 2017, the fibre content increased by 21% and whole grain content by 20%, the sugar content decreased by 15% and the salt content by 23%.
In 2018, the German breakfast cereal manufacturers agreed to continue improving the nutritional composition of their products, including sugar, whole grain and fibre. The aim was to reduce the total sugar content of products marketed to children, weighted by their sales, by an average of at least 20% by 2025 as compared to 2012. Recent monitoring demonstrates that the reduction target has already been met and also significant salt reductions have been achieved in almost all categories.
In 2015, the Italian breakfast cereal producers agreed to further reduce the average levels of sugar, trans-fatty acids and sodium, and to increase fibre in all products on the market targeted to children and ‘all family’ products eaten by children. A monitoring conducted in February 2018 in accordance with the Ministry for Health, demonstrated that all the targets had been met.
In 2019, the Portuguese breakfast cereal sector agreed a 10% sugar reduction (weighted average based on sales) across the category by the end of 2022. Producers also agreed the target of no more than a weighted average of 1g/100g salt.
In 2018, the Spanish breakfast cereal association, as part of a broader commitment of FIAB (the Spanish Food and Drink Federation), agreed a 10% reduction of the median content of total sugars in children's chocolate breakfast cereals. The commitment ended in December 2020. During 2021, AESAN (the Spanish food safety agency) will carry out a final evaluation to check if the agreements have been reached. The results are expected in Q3 or Q4 of 2021.
In the UK, breakfast cereal manufacturers have successfully reduced salt levels in breakfast cereals by 64% since 1998 and cut added sugar from recipes by nearly 20% since 2010. A sugar reduction programme was initiated by the UK Government in 2017 with the target of a 5% sugar reduction (sales weighted average) required for year one, and an additional 20% reduction in added sugars by 2020. In May 2018, the breakfast cereals category met the initial 5% sugar reduction ambition for year one.
Breakfast cereal industry decreases sugar by 10.2%
in 2020 vs. 2015*
In 2015, the EU High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity set the target of at least 10% reduction in added sugars by 2020 in three product categories, including breakfast cereals.
Today, CEEREAL members can confirm that this target has been met. Sugar has been reduced by 10.2% from 2015 to 2020.
This has not been the only achievement in reformulation within the breakfast cereal industry over the past five years: the fibre content in breakfast cereal recipes increased by 8.9%, and whole grain increased by 17.2%.
Overall, people in Europe today eat breakfast cereals with less sugar, more fibre and more wholegrain content on average than five years ago.
* On a sales weighted basis for recipes constituting 85% of volume sales in the EU and UK for CEEREAL members in 2015 and 2020.
Achievement in reformulation AMONG breakfast cereal PRODUCERS from 2015 to 2020*
How breakfast cereals contribute to public health
Breakfast cereals contribute to public health by helping to establish good base levels of key micronutrient intakes in the population, which in particular helps to protect vulnerable groups. This can be done through the inclusion of whole grains, which are a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Micronutrient fortification, as a recognised public health strategy in various countries, can also help people meet their nutritional needs.