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Most kids' food products ‘too sweet and fatty’

Published: 13 Mar 2012 15:40 GMT+01:00

A survey carried out by watchdog Foodwatch found that nearly three-quarters of food products marketed at children should be regarded as “sweet and fatty snacks” and should only be consumed rarely.

Foodwatch identified 1,514 products aimed at children either through the labelling (“for kids”), through marketing tie-ins involving cartoon characters or free toys, or through special offers connected to online games.

The products were then assessed according to the “nutritional pyramid” devised by a government-supported consumer organization.

This pyramid, a chart divided into three levels, puts particularly “sweet and fatty snacks” in the red category at its tip, meaning that they should only be consumed rarely. Of the 1,514 products tested, 1,109 fell into this category.

The yellow level in the middle, including milk and meat products, contains food that should only be consumed “in moderation,” while the green level, including fruit, vegetables, cereal products and water, at the base should be consumed “often.”

Apart from the 73.3 percent in the red category, six percent of the children’s food was in the yellow category, while only 12.4 percent fell in the green category.

In the wake of the study, the Green Party has called on Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner to take concrete measures to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food.

Green Party deputy leader Bärbel Höhn told Wednesday’s edition of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the food industry was not keeping its promise “to end the tactics of tempting children with toys.”

Höhn added that by refusing to put colour-coded nutritional advice on food labels, the government was helping “to ensure that fattening food would continue to be sold as allegedly good ‘children’s products’.”

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:41 March 13, 2012 by mits
With the number of kids popping those sweetners every not & then, only time could tell the consequences.
18:29 March 13, 2012 by Englishted
It is a problem in the developed and the developing world not just Germany.
19:45 March 13, 2012 by The-ex-pat
2Most food products aimed at German children is too sweet and fatty, making it ¦quot;practically impossible¦quot; to give kids a healthy diet based on food designed for them."

Quite simple in my house. If it has been "designed" for children to eat, then it is not on the shopping list. The choice is very simple, yes have your tantrum about not eating it, but you will still be hungry at the end, or eat it and and don't be hungry. It paid off, as today, my children 7 and 9 eat what is put in front of them. They also eat fruit and vegetables in large quantities. Weak parenting and pandering to children is the real problem. If the products were not bought, then they would not be sold. And with the information available to the last 20 years, anyone who buys this sort of food has ignored all the previous news reports, exposés and health advice about how much crap is put in these foods.
20:24 March 13, 2012 by raandy
More should be done to remove some of the advertising about these unhealthy foods, these people spend 100's of millions producing adds that indice children to eat sweet and fatty foods.There should be some sort of food for children standard.
21:30 March 13, 2012 by israeli888
Dear friends

No one can eat this food rarely because it`s ADDIACTIVE and

after each time there is rehab proccess.

Who can do it over and over again?!

Children?!

Who can keep use HEROIN rarely for the long term?!

NO-ONE.

We have to avoide this kind of food totaly if you ask me.

Love
23:38 March 13, 2012 by Omufu
I think marketing food directly to children is a really scummy thing to do... well, generally marketing to children should be limited, but food especially. I'm struggling to think of any food marketed to children that I would give them regularly.
10:15 March 14, 2012 by MaKo
"practically impossible"? The-ex-pat has that one right. Tantrums can be very trying, but it is the parent who is responsible for the choice. Unfortunately, the "for kids" packaging does for me what a warning label might do for a pack of cigarettes: I don't buy it. Parents have a responsibility to read ingredient lists and give their children the best food they can.

But that the food industry would be an adversary in a parent's effort to provide their children with healthy and appealing choices is outrageous. The packaging is as deceptive about nutritional content as it is appealing to children. I wouldn't be that offended by a product that tried to appeal to children with a sticker or toy if it was something I'd actually consider preparing for them. The nutritional quality of the food and the aggressive marketing strategies should be addressed first.
15:34 March 14, 2012 by catjones
I just want the government and the food industry to make my decisions for me and protect me from myself. I am eager to pay for this protection and thought guidance. With help, I will be the best I can be.
18:05 March 14, 2012 by Grebo
In related news, a similar study finds most adult foods too sweet and fatty. j/k

Like all things, healthy eating is best promoted by setting good examples.
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