To compare the nutritional quality of New Zealand breakfast cereals in 2013 and 2017.
Nutrition Information Panel data were collected from all cereals available from two large supermarket chains in 2017 and compared with earlier published data collected in 2013.
Urban New Zealand supermarkets.
The nutritional content of breakfast cereals (‘biscuits and bites’, ‘brans’, ‘bubbles, flakes and puffs’, ‘children’s cereals’, ‘muesli’ and ‘oats’) was analysed for total energy, protein, fat (total and saturated), carbohydrate, sugar, fibre and Na. The Nutrient Profile Scoring Criterion (NPSC) for each cereal was calculated to determine the proportion of ‘less healthy’ cereals (NPSC≥4) in each product category.
The energy and fat content of bubbles, flakes and puffs, muesli and oats were significantly higher in 2017 compared with 2013 (all P≤0·01). However, there was a small reduction in Na overall in 2017 (P<0·05). There was no change between 2013 and 2017 in the proportion of ‘healthy’ or ‘less healthy’ breakfast cereals available.
The nutrient profile of breakfast cereals has not improved since 2013, suggesting that industry self-regulation of the nutritional composition of cereals in New Zealand is not working and needs urgent reconsideration.