A new study has shown supermarket meals intended for children tend to be nutritionally inferior to those for older consumers.
Higher levels of salt, sugar and fat were found in food and drink samples with child-targeted packaging, than those in simple wrapping aimed at general consumers.
The report, published in Public Health Nutrition, analysed the nutritional content of around 400 samples including ready meals, yoghurts and cereal bars from Britain’s seven most popular supermarkets.
Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire examined food and drink products for fat, sugar and salt content per 100g and per recommended portion size, with surprising results.
“Consumers may think that foods marketed for children, using cartoon characters and promoted for lunchboxes might be healthier options than the equivalent foods marketed more for adults,” says Dr Kirsten Rennie, who worked on the study.
“In fact we found that it was the opposite. Foods like yoghurts and cereal bars often had substantially more fat and sugar per 100g than similar adult-version products. This is very worrying and does not help consumers’ confidence in choosing appropriate healthy foods for their children.”
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