McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

June 26, 2012

Cereal makers spend $156 million to get kids hooked on sugar

Do cereal companies value profits over children's health?

(Continued)

Big bucks

As far as how many boxes of sugary cereals were sold to parents and children in 2011, Kellogg's Froot Loops made $162,182,800, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes made $267,170,500 in profit, and General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios pulled in $357,013,600 last year. Talk about a lot of sugar being passed on to children, sheesh!

In 2008, when researchers last studied cereal companies and their efforts to target children, preschoolers were exposed to an average of 635 cereal ads in that one year, which breaks down to 1.7 cereal commercials per day.

And if kids weren't being sucked in by television commercials, they were on the internet visiting cereal websites. Millsberry.com had the most hits getting 387,000 children to use its site each month. The usual time frame that kids spend on these kind of sites are averaged at 24-minutes per child.

Many cereal companies have felt outside pressure from health groups, and a 2006 version of this same FACTS report, also forced companies to take another look at its child marketing tactics.

In addition, The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), who is sponsored by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, also asked cereal companies to rethink not only its marketing campaigns, but also to reduce some of the sugar in its cereals.

In 2009 the Post company joined the CFBAI. Reports by the watch group indicate that General Mills, Kellogg's, and Post have all made attempts to increase marketing healthier cereals towards children.

Some improvements

Although cereal companies still have a long way to go, there have been some improvements in the last few years.

Between 2009 and 2012, cereal companies have made efforts to improve its nutrition in many children's cereals. Brands that were advertised to the 13 to 16 year old demographic improved from a nutritional score of 40 out of 100 in 2009, to 43 in 2012, according to the report.

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