Nearly 17,000 PreventObesity.net Leaders and Supporters wrote to the big three cereal companies — Post, General Mills and Kellogg’s — earlier this year to ask them to promote only healthy cereals to children.
PreventObesity.net received a response to the campaign from one of the companies last week — and it appears things aren’t going to change anytime soon.
PreventObesity.net Director Marty Kearns received a letter from a Post “consumer response representative” addressing the campaign. In the letter, the representative explains that while the company appreciates our “concern for childhood obesity and appreciate your interest in the welbeing [sic] of the children” the company believes “it is up to each individual to determine what meets their needs and preferences, expectations and dietary needs when choosing products that appeal to them and their children.”
As the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found in their Cereal FACTS report, the cereals most marketed to kids also are the ones that serve up the most sugar. Cereals advertised to children are far less healthy than those marketed to adults, containing 56 percent more sugar, half as much fiber and 50 percent more sodium.
But the cereal companies aren’t boxed in — all three companies make healthy cereals that they could market to kids. They just choose not to.
Indeed, Post even references those healthier products in the letter to Marty, writing: “We do, however, have cereals with no added sugar or salt… [and] additionally, we do offer a wide variety of healthy cereals such as the Great Grains cereal selection . [sic] These cereals are less processed multi-grain flakes with fruits and nuts for our consumers to take advantage of.”
Despite admitting that they have healthier products to market, it does not appear Post is going to change its marketing policies.
“We realize that not all of our products will appeal to every individual; however, we always want to hear from consumers when they feel our products do not live up to their expectations,” writes Sandra Meeks, the consumer response representative. “This type of communications aids [sic] us in improving and controlling our operations to meet our objectives of providing a good, quality product.”