Another Cereal Brand Misses the Mark!

The Lempert Report
April 03, 2023

On today’s Bullseye – another breakfast cereal brand misses the mark – for the 4th time! In 2020 Kellogg’s launched Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie cereal, in 2021 Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies cereal, last year it was Little Debbie Nutty Buddy cereal and to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls – you got it – Kellogg’s Little Debbie Swiss Rolls cereal. I’m not sure if they are going after the baby boomer nostalgia or kids – maybe both, but as the World Obesity Federation prediction says that by 2035 51% of the world’s population will be overweight or obese unless we change the foods we eat. Here in the US in 2023 the World Health Organization says 19.7% of adolescents and children are already obese and 2/3rds of adults are overweight or obese according to the Harvard Chan School of Public Health – so I have to question do we really need another sweetened and sweet tasting cereal?

We know that consuming a diet that is high in added sugars whether in beverages, candy, baked goods or breakfast cereals is a contributing factor in weight gain and chronic health conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes according to the National Institutes of Health. What we also know is sugar has a pleasant taste that triggers brain reward circuitries and then stimulates the consumption of foods that are rich in sugars from the 2020 research “The Gut-Brain Axis Mediates Sugar Preference. My take – the more sugars we eat, the more sugars we want to eat – and do. I couldn’t find the new Little Debbie Swiss Rolls cereal for a look at the nutritional’s and ingredients, but the front of pack shows 170 calories and 17 grams of total sugars (before the milk) per 1 and ¼ cup serving. I did find Little Debbie Nutty Buddy cereal. So, to get a sense for that cereal - the good news is that whole wheat flour is first ingredient, the not so good news is that the second is sugar. Add ¾ cup of skim milk and a 1 and 1/3 cup which is a little less than 1 and a half ounces of cereal will set you back 26 grams of added and naturally occurring sugars. It does contain some vitamins and minerals as do most breakfast cereals along with natural and artificial flavors and colors. And how realistic is a one-and-a-half-ounce portion of breakfast cereal anyway? The UK publication Which conducted an experiment with more than 120 people to see just how much cereal they poured into a bowl. In the case of Bran Flakes, Cheerios, Cornflakes and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes the recommended serving size was 30 grams – about 1.1 ounces. Here’s what the average size that they poured – Bran Flakes 70 grams, Cheerios 49 grams, Corn Flakes 58 grams and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes 53 grams.

To be fair – here in the US the average serving size is greater – typically 42 grams or 1.48 ounces - As most Americans purchase a least one box of cereal per shopping trip – that amounts to 2.7 billion boxes by the way, that means the average American consumes 14 pounds of cereal each year. I urge breakfast cereal companies and their brand managers to reconsider the facts – there are cereals out there that taste great and are not loaded in sugars or taste sweet – and are better for us. IF in fact we really want to change the way people eat, let’s stop being so opportunistic and open that dusty nutrition book.