There is no rising nutritional awareness when it comes to breakfast. Most parents still feel this essential meal is only a time to “put food in mouths”, without considering the nutritional consequences. Until breakfast regains it’s status as a true “meal”, the breakfast table will be a dumping ground for processed garbage. Kellogg’s claims will not change this until parents change it.
The Kellogg Pledge
Kellogg’s promises to only promote nutritious food during Saturday morning only signals one thing that Kellogg’s is feeling pressured. This is a food empire that gets most of its revenue from highly sweetened and highly processed foods targeted at children. How they will “remake” their marketing and nutrition standards is yet to be seen but you should expect it to be a smokescreen.
For example, Kellogg’s has pledged to make its products conform to nutritional standards of: a single serving would contain no more than 200 calories; no more than 2 grams of saturated fat; no more than 230 milligrams of sodium; and no more than 2 grams of sugar, not counting sugar from fruit, dairy and vegetables; and no trans fats.
And this supposedly will make their unhealthy foods into “healthy” ones.
Do the math – a gram of fat contains 9 calories. That means a serving would have no more than 18 calories from saturated fats. They make no guideline for unsaturated fats.
Two grams of sugar contains 16 calories. But Kellogg’s ruled out “fruit, dairy, and vegetables” as sugar sources. This is questionable. Would “concentrated apple juice” or “concentrated beet juice” count as a fruit or vegetable or would it be added sugar?
How about “concentrated sugar cane juice”? It’s kind of like “concentrated apple juice”, but it has that sugar word in it
What will be considered a serving? Take a look at the ghastly “Pop-Tart”. These horrific blends of candy-flavored processed ingredients list “one pastry” as a serving. But Pop-Tarts are sold with two “pastries” per foil package and eating a single Pop-Tart is about as filling as eating a piece of toast.
Since Kellogg’s has made no pledge for fiber or protein content, you can probably assume a serving will remain the ridiculously low amount listed on their nutritional information labels. You can pack a lot of vitamins (through chemical additives) and calories in one tart but anything more substantial would require greater bulk, cost, and serving size.
It doesn’t look like the food formulation will change much. It’s unlikely the serving size they use for evaluation will be made more reasonable. It appears the only thing they’re going to change is the source of the materials that provide the sugar and fat content.
Kellogg’s is redoing their advertising
Kellogg’s has pledged to stop advertising to children under 12, according to their website. How will they sell anything that way?
Kellogg’s will put their advertising on shows that have a majority of viewers over the age of 12, of course but they will saturate programs that show any decent number of under-12 viewers. Kellogg’s can say they’re only advertising to older children, while using those shows to bombard the under-12’s they can reach.
In fact, I bet Kellogg’s will put money into developing shows that cater to an over-12 age group, but will still draw a good number of under-12 viewers.
This is marketing subterfuge of the worst sort. Kellogg’s is making a claim of addressing higher nutritional principles, but in reality is only redrawing the lines to make their products and advertising seem healthier.
Of course, they will target shows that parents watch and bombard them with information on how Kellogg’s breakfast food are healthier. So what if the facts disprove their claims they’ll just advertise harder. Getting the parents to buy in is impoportant.
It’s not Kellogg’s, it’s Mom and Dad
The big shame is not Kellogg’s it’s the shame parents should feel. Among the responsibilities of a parent is to make sure your children are eating healthy food, and teaching them to eat in a healthy way.
The popularity of Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes show that parents are not (and have not in the past) been doing this job. These products would not be on the shelves if parents were making wise food choices.
Kellogg’s had a reasonably good product in Special K, but now it has spun off Special K bars and snacks that are loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. Parents are feeding these to their kids. This is horrifying. What was once a decent breakfast food is now breakfast-and-snack-candy, and parents are endorsing it by buying. Because the parents are thinking “What? It must be good. It’s Special K!” without reading the nutrition label.
Kellogg’s has made an empire out of producing terrible breakfast products, but they have been successful because rushed parents want to throw something down their children’s throats before herding them off to school. Parents pay far too little attention to the nutritional quality of the food their children get for breakfast and the breakfast food industry sells them on the convenience of feeding children quickly and easily.
Things will get better without the Saturday morning ads
If Kellogg’s abandons their station as the chief provider of fast food that children will eat quickly for breakfast, only two things can happen: 1.) Kellogg’s will lose market share, and will quickly renege on their vows, or 2.) Kellogg’s will stick to its guns, and other marketers will move into the void Kellogg’s has left.
Either way, nothing changes. Parents will continue to take shortcuts on breakfast, and will purchase products that make breakfast easy. Advertisers will continue to target children’s shows, and parents will give in to children who beg for stuff they saw on TV.
There is no significant trend in nutritional awareness. There is a vocal group that is influencing corporations; there is a larger group giving lip service to nutritional awareness.
But there is an enormous base of parents who continue to treat breakfast as a “put food in the mouths” type meal. Until breakfast is once again recognized as the most important meal of the day, children will continue to eat dessert for breakfast. .