Skip to main content
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Healthy Breakfast Biscuits? You Might As Well Have a Bowl of Coco Pops NEW Study Reveals

  • 46% of breakfast biscuits surveyed contain the same or more sugars than a bowl (30g) of Kellogg’s Coco Pops
  • 38% of products would have a red warning colour on front of pack nutrition labelling for high sugar content
  • Not ONE single product featured green front of pack labelling for sugars
  • Every single product contained at least one and some up to four teaspoons of sugars per serving
  • Government urged to include reformulation and clearer guidance on labelling as part of its long overdue Childhood Obesity Strategy due to be published this summer

Starting the day with so called healthy breakfast biscuits could be no healthier for you than a bowl of Kellogg’s Coco Pops – according to NEW research by campaign group, Action on Sugar.
The product survey, which analysed 39 breakfast biscuits sold in leading UK supermarkets,2 revealed the four products with the highest sugar content per serving are Lidl Sondey Envitas Breakfast Biscuits Chocolate & Hazelnut Flavour and Lidl Sondey Envitas Breakfast Biscuit Chocolate followed by BelVita Breakfast Yogurt Crunch Creamy Live Yogurt Cocoa Biscuits (2 biscuits in a pouch) and BelVita Breakfast Cocoa with Choc Chip (4 biscuits in a pouch) – equivalent to approx. 4 teaspoons of sugar!

Other shock findings included:

  • 92% of products (i.e. 36 out of 39) contain more sugars per serving than a bowl (30g) of Nestle Toffee Crisp Cereal – which contains 7g of sugars (≈2 tsp).
  • 82% of products (i.e. 32 out of 39) contain more sugars per serving than a bowl (30g) of Honey Monster Puffs Cereal – which contains 8.7g of sugars (≈2 tsp).

    Worryingly, 38% of products would have a red warning colour for front of pack labelling for high sugars content (15 out of 39), 41% of products would have an amber colour for front of pack labelling (16 out of 39) AND not one single product featured a green front of pack labelling for low sugars!7 Every single one of these products contained one or more teaspoons of sugar per serving. When it comes to serving size, misleading labelling continues to baffle consumers. For example, BelVita labels the nutrition information of one biscuit on the front of pack nutrition labelling even though each pouch contains 2-4 biscuits, which most people assume is one serving.
    Following recent reports from Euromonitor confirming Britons consume more than twice as much sugar in a day as the global average, Action on Sugar is calling on the government to urgently set regulated targets for food manufacturers when it comes to reformulation with enforcement of consistent colour-coded front of pack labelling. On average each person in the UK eats 71.7g of sugar a day in packaged foods and this needs to be drastically reduced.

    Registered Nutritionist Kawther Hashem, Researcher at Action on Sugar, says: “Just because a product contains added vitamins and is promoted as a healthy option doesn’t necessarily make it the best option for breakfast on-the-go. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; choose it wisely and don’t be misled into buying products that are convenient but not entirely healthy. We recommend you make informed food switches such as choosing wholegrain breakfast cereals low in salt and sugar. Add fresh fruit to increase its nutritional value.”
    “If we really want the health of the nation to improve the food industry needs to produce and promote healthier breakfast options that are lower in sugar and higher in fibre with accurate front of pack nutrition labelling.”

    Registered Nutritionist Jennifer Rosborough, Campaign Manager at Action on Sugar adds: “It is important that breakfast substitutes offer the healthiest alternative, rather than a worse option. Sadly, we could not recommend any of the products we examined which are laden with excess sugar.
    “While some sugar in breakfast biscuits is naturally occurring due to ingredients such as fruit, many contain sugar that has been added by the manufacturer. We now want the Government to tackle this issue head on by making sure all manufacturers use colour-coded nutrition labelling, encouraging reductions in sugar, fat and salt and ensuring manufacturers promote their products responsibly."

    Breakfast Biscuits Data per serving [PDF 209KB]
    Breakfast Biscuits Data per 100g [PDF 206KB]