Every parent, vegetarian or not, has gone through the cereal gauntlet with their kids. You know the one I mean: the battle between you and the kids as you make your way down the breakfast cereal aisle. They want the super-sugary cereals they see on commercials and you try to convince them that the healthier cereals taste better.
To placate parents demanding healthier cereals for their kids, cereal companies have reduced the sugar in some kids’ cereals, and have put words like “now with less sugar!” and “made with whole grains” on the boxes. But don’t start thinking that the manufacturers are trying to create and sell a healthy cereal for your kids.
As this story from CBS News reports, researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity prepared a special report on children’s cereals and they say that while many of the kids’ cereals they tested do have less sugar, less sodium and more fiber than they previously did, those cereals are not where the companies are focusing their advertising.
Here’s what the Yale researchers reported about the cereal companies’ advertising efforts:
- Children saw more TV ads for the remaining seven child-targeted brands, including Reese’s Puffs, Froot Loops, and Pebbles.
- Post launched a new Pebbles “advergame” website, and General Mills launched new sites for Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
- Kellogg nearly doubled banner advertising on children’s websites, such as Nickelodeon.com and Neopets.com, for its child-targeted brands.
So, in other words, they made many cereals healthier to please the parents who have the money, but they stepped up on peddling the worst cereals to kids. What this means to me is that the gauntlet remains the same. The parents may have a few more “healthy” cereals from which to choose, but the kids are still being bombarded with commercials about the least healthy ones.
Obviously, concerned parents need to put more pressure on these companies to either advertise the healthier kids’ cereals more or advertise the unhealthy ones less. What do you think?