General Mills announced on Wednesday that it would be gradually lowering the sugar content of breakfast cereals that are marketed to children, including Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms. Although General Mills began to lower the sugar content of such cereals in 2007, it has pledged to reduce further the sugar content to less than 10 grams per serving. It did not set a deadline, however, in which to reach the goal. Nutrition groups lauded the announcement saying it would make a significant difference in cereals such as Trix which had 13 grams of sugar per serving. Kellogg Co., the manufacturer of Froot Loops and Apple Jacks, as well as Post Foods, which manufactures Fruity Pebbles, have also taken steps to reduce the sugar content in their cereals.
This announcement comes on the eve of an FTC public forum entitled “Sizing Up: Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity.” The December 15 forum will discuss new research on the impact that today’s pervasive food marketing has on children and the statutory and constitutional issues that surround government regulation of that marketing. The forum is free and open to the public and includes panels on the legal ramifications of regulating advertising to children as well as on the food and entertainment industries’ progress in implementing the FTC’s 2008 recommendations (previously described here) for self-regulatory changes. Yours truly will be attending and blogging on what we learn, so stay tuned.