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To compare the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) content, serving size and package size of children’s ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (RTEC) available in five different Western countries.
NIP label information was collected from RTEC available for purchase in major supermarket chains. Kruskal–Wallis, Mann–Whitney U and χ2 tests were applied to detect differences between countries on manufacturer-declared serving size, total energy (kJ), total protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, total sugar, Na and fibre content. The Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (NPSC) was used to evaluate the number of products deemed to be ‘unhealthy’.
Supermarkets in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Children’s breakfast cereals (n 636), including those with and without promotional characters.
The majority of children’s RTEC contained substantial levels of total sugar and differences were apparent between countries. Median sugar content per serving was higher in US cereals than all other countries (10·0 v. 7·7–9·1 g; P < 0·0001). Median fat and saturated fat content were lowest in Australia and New Zealand RTEC, while the Na content of RTEC was 60–120 % higher in the USA and Canada than in Australia and the UK (all P ≤ 0·01).
Across all countries, there was a high proportion of RTEC marketed for children that had an unhealthy nutrient profile. Strategies and policies are needed to improve the nutrient value of RTEC for children, so they provide a breakfast food that meets nutrition guidelines.
To compare the nutritional content, serving size and taxation potential of supermarket beverages from four different Western countries.
Cross-sectional analysis. Multivariate regression analysis and χ2 comparisons were used to detect differences between countries.
Supermarkets in New Zealand (NZ), Australia, Canada and the UK.
Supermarket beverages in the following categories: fruit juices, fruit-based drinks, carbonated soda, waters and sports/energy drinks.
A total of 4157 products were analysed, including 749 from NZ, 1738 from Australia, 740 from Canada and 930 from the UK. NZ had the highest percentage of beverages with sugar added to them (52 %), while the UK had the lowest (9 %, P<0·001). Differences in energy, carbohydrate and sugar content were observed between countries and within categories, with UK products generally having the lowest energy and sugar content. Up to half of all products across categories/countries exceeded the US Food and Drug Administration’s reference single serving sizes, with fruit juices contributing the greatest number. Between 47 and 83 % of beverages in the different countries were eligible for sugar taxation, the UK having the lowest proportion of products in both the low tax (5–8 % sugar) and high tax (>8 % sugar) categories.
There is substantial difference between countries in the mean energy, serving size and proportion of products eligible for fiscal sugar taxation. Current self-regulatory approaches used in these countries may not be effective to reduce the availability, marketing and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and subsequent intake of free sugars.
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.
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