Baby and toddler snacks full of sugar

10 November 2021
A new report from Action on Sugar calls for the removal of misleading claims on snacks containing too much sugar.

Of the 73 products surveyed for the report, over a third would receive a ‘red’ label for sugars. This is despite such products coming with marketing messages that suggest they are healthy.

Babies and toddlers should not be eating any free sugars whatsoever, but that doesn’t stop Heinz Farley’s Mini Rusks Originals from containing 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Meanwhile, Kiddylicious Banana Crispy Tiddlers are 59% sugar! This is obfuscated by these products’ packaging coming with deceptive labels such as ‘packed with… key vitamins & minerals…’ and ‘packed with real fruit’.

Parents are being misled by claims such as sugars being from ‘natural sources’, which 92% of 1000 surveyed parents said would make them more inclined to buy a product. 84% of those surveyed said they buy these ‘healthy’ products for their children.

“Consuming too much sugar on a regular basis means we’re eating too many calories. If we don’t use those calories as fuel, our body will store them as fat. This can lead to weight gain, and if this happens to our children, it’s likely they will carry the weight into their adolescent and adult years, potentially leading to overweight or obesity, as well as suffering from agonising tooth decay.

"It is therefore imperative that food companies act more responsibly and commit to reformulate sugar, salt and calorie reduction instead of foisting unhealthy products with misleading nutrition claims upon well-meaning parents.”

- Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of Action on Sugar

This report adds to the pile that demonstrate unhealthy ingredients are filling foods labelled as ‘healthy’. Recent research by Biteback has also shown packaging to be misleading older children. We fully support Action on Sugar’s call for misleading marketing claims to be removed, and for the Government to make composition guidelines mandatory.