Kellogg To Stop Marketing Unhealthy Food To Kids

Kellogg announced today that it would phase out advertising to children under 12 unless the food met nutritional guidelines for sugar, calories and fat, reports the New York Times.

The Center for Science In The Public Interest responded to the news by dropping its threats of a lawsuit,

“Kellogg’s position has really evolved over those months from pretty much ‘no way’ to acceptance of some nutrient criteria,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He said he hoped the Kellogg announcement would lead its competitors to adopt even tougher standards for food advertising to children.

Kellogg also agrees to stop use of licensed characters or branded toys, according to the NYT.

Kellogg says that products that do not currently meet the guidelines will either be reformulated or not marketed to children. Some Kellogg cereals that do not meet the criteria? Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, and some varieties of Pop Tarts. In all, about 1/2 of Kellogg’s products will be affected.

“It is a big change,” Mr. Mackey [Kellogs’s president and chief executive] said. “Where we can make the changes without negatively impacting the taste of the product, we will.”

We’ve thought it over, and we’ve decided it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Now if they’d just stop marketing Special K as some sort of magic weight-loss pixie dust that will also make you fly like Supergirl and keep you from getting split-ends… too much to ask. —MEGHANN MARCO

Kellogg to Curb Marketing of Foods to Children

(Photo: iwantamonkey)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ptkdude says:

    RE: Special K not being magic weight-loss pixie dust. How true! I eat 4 boxes a day and haven’t lost a single pound!

  2. valthun says:

    I’ve thought about it, and if they start putting poison (artificial sweetener) and market that to kids I will never purchase a single item made by Kellogg again and urge everyone I know not to do the same. I grew up on those cereals, real butter, and real sugar in my foods, I am pretty sure I am not fat.

  3. valthun says:

    I mean “do” the same not “not” do the same.

  4. Chaosium says:

    @valthun: poison (artificial sweetener)

    Except that it’s not.

  5. Saydur says:

    If they’d just replace all HFCS with real sugar, show cereal bowls that hold one suggested serving, and remind parents to not let their kids eat too much and become jelly-like blobs at 6 years old, I’d cut them quite a bit of slack.

    In fact, any company that eschews use of any HFCS for any reason in favor of real sugar is already that much more on my good side.

    Tip- Real sugar fills you up much more than HFCS.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    You know, for a consumer packaged goods brand, especially a huge one like this? REALLY hard for them to do. Really a good first step. HFCS comments I agree with, but still, good for Kellogg’s.

  7. ancientsociety says:

    “any company that eschews use of any HFCS for any reason in favor of real sugar is already that much more on my good side.”

    I agree wholeheartedly!

  8. Just to ask, what exactly are they using to define “Unhealthy”… Rather, what guideline standards?

  9. NeoteriX says:

    Special K with strawberries still tastes like heaven in my mouth, whether it’s magical for weight loss or not ;)

  10. OnceWasCool says:

    I will never by cereals again!

  11. OnceWasCool says:

    Ok, I have got to quit posting before the coffee kicks in.

    Should have said, “I will never buy cereals again!”

  12. dbeahn says:

    @valthun: So in one post you explain that artificial sweetner is poison, in spite of the fact that it is, and cereal butter and sugar aren’t fattening (because you aren’t fat) inspite of research showing that these items ARE fattening, and a problem for many people…

    Have you considered thinking *before* typing? Just a suggestion…

  13. mbrutsch says:

    @Chaosium: Except that it’s not.

    Except that it is. Accept that it is.

  14. Asvetic says:

    From the article: “Under the new nutrition standards, one serving of food must have no more than 200 calories, no trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat, no more than 230 milligrams of sodium (except for Eggo frozen waffles) and no more than 12 grams of sugar.”

    Not necessarily the strictest of nutritional guidelines, but at least it’s a start and Kellogg is taking a preemptive strike. Maybe it’ll start a trend and other company will follow suit.

  15. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    “some” varieties of Pop-Tarts? I’ve wondered for years when they stopped making the kind without the nasty frosting glaze. If they could manage to make Pop-Tarts in a low sugar version (without artificial sweeteners), I’d gladly buy them again. “Health food” Pop-Tarts? Why not?

  16. mopar_man says:

    Heh. Yes it it IS actually. My sister consumes tons of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners and she wonders why she has migraines and high blood pressure. Dealing with those things is soooo much better than just consuming lower doses of regular sugar.

  17. Antediluvian says:

    Will they also stop marketing unhealthy food to adults?

    See, that’s news story I’d like to read. And it’s not just Kellogg. They’re just a convenient target at the moment.

  18. MeOhMy says:

    Hi readers.
    Drink too much water and you will DIE. Does that make it a poison?

    Too much of just about ANYTHING will cause you ill effects. I’m with mopar_man in that I’ll just consume less sugar rather than consume oodles (or even an equal amount) of artificial sweeteners, but all this hyperbole is just ridiculous.

    Anyway, nevermind potential health benefits – if they reduce/stop advertising them so heavily to kids now parents don’t have to deal with their kid freaking out at the grocery store because he wants that cool cereal he saw on TV.

    Parents everywhere rejoice!

  19. TWinter says:

    @speedwell: Go to the healthy frozen food section of your supermarket and look for Amy’s toaster pastries. They are basically healthy poptarts that come in apple, blueberry, and strawberry. They totally rock!!! I think they freeze them because they would have to use tons of preservatives to put them on the regular shelves.

  20. jeffj-nj says:

    Or, we could just ask and hope that parents might, ya know, not do everything their children tell them to.

    “But Mommy! It has a princess on the box!”

    “Derrrruh.. Ok, we’ll buy two.”


    “Yes, honey, but it’s not good for you, and I’m not buying it because I’m the parent and you’re the child and that is how the world works, despite what most every show and commercial on television might have you believe.”


  21. Echodork says:

    It’s nice that Kellogg will stop pasting Shrek onto every box of cereal in the aisle. But I can’t imagine the nutritional content of the cereal will change any. If anything, Kellogg will simply shrink the suggested serving again.

    One serving of most cereals is 1 cup, which isn’t quite one bowl full of cereal. Nobody I know eats 3/4ths of a bowl of cereal and then puts the milk away. No, you refill the bowl a couple of times until all the milk is gone, and then you tip the bowl up and drink the rest of the milk. That’s how cereal is eaten.

    Kellogg and General Mills have already started reducing the serving size on some cereals to 3/4 cup. To get below the benchmark of 200 calories and 12 grams of sugar, they’ll just make it 1/2 cup. Just like Oreos, whose serving size is “2 cookies.”

  22. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ve eaten Corn Flakes since I was a kid. Bowl of Corn Flakes (2 cups) + a tablespoon of sugar, and a sliced banana. That remains a hell of a breakfast, in my opinion!

    …..Yes, you DO tip the bowl up and drink the sugar-milk. Make sure and rake all the grains into your mouth with the spoon…

  23. pestie says:

    I just want to know if Corn Flakes have finally managed to stop people from masturbating or not.

  24. Joe B. Low says:

    Since when is the provider responsible for the consumer? This is America… note the HUGE selection of cereal on the aisle. Pick a cereal that more appropriately meets your standard of health, or shut up and deal with your pot-bellied kids. The Consumer should only be allowed to influence the manufacturer by wielding their shopping dollar, not by suing Kellogg’s. Besides, how many 6 to 12 year olds hold the checkbook when it comes time to go grocery shopping? None. The parents buy the food that makes the kids fat.

  25. AcidReign says:

    …..@pestie: No.

  26. Spider Jerusalem says:

    OK, now when will Kellog’s start the campaign they really need, the one that says, Stop buying our sugar-encrusted sh*t for your kids! And for gods’ sakes, use 1%, not whole, you enabling jerk!

    Um…yeah, because “advertising to kids” should not EVER influence a PARENT’S decision of what THEY purchase on a daily basis.

  27. B says:

    @pestie: Only if applied directly to the crotch.

  28. coconino says:

    As an ex-Kellogg employee, I am still very proud of the company and the way they conduct their business, bravo! I love Kashi and Special K! This is definitely a good way to attract the parents to buy their products and get away from all the ridiculous litigations.

    I remember the time when I little, I saw all these cool commercials about junk food with junk toys and I would beg my parents to death to buy those junks to me and they wouldn’t. I hated them. Parents take the biggest role in what to feed their children! That’s the fact! Look at a fat kid and it will make you feel like slapping their parents.

  29. Mark 2000 says:

    I think its pretty sick that a company would market unhealthy crap to kids and call it a balanced breakfast. I can’t believe we put up with that crap for this long.

    People, we all need to look at the ingredients and see that prosecution is the only option. A bag of whole wheat bread from Orowheat has Soy flour, HFCS AND Sugar, AND molasses, and hundreds of chemical preservatives. That’s the healthiest damn thing in the supermarket. Unless we fight these folks in court or spend hundreds at Whole Foods we are screwed.

  30. Mark 2000 says:

    @coconino: Coconino, You obviously don’t have kids and you obviously don’t know what its like to be agitated on a daily basis aboiut something they want. To say that a parent has as much control over a kid as several mega-corps that have whole teams of scientists and psychologists working on ways to directly target children.

  31. Spider Jerusalem says:

    @Mark 2000: That’s an excuse parents use to get out of being responsible. “Come ON, she wants to wear crop tops, and Club Libby Lu is so SPARKLY! What am I supposed to DO? She bothers me all the time!” A parent’s job is to be strong and protect their child, especially from the child itself.

  32. coconino says:

    Mark 2000: as a parent, you do know you are the ultimate role to shape your kid’s life. You do know that, do you???

    Because of my strict diet when I was a child, I thank my parents for helping me in living a healthy lifestyle.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    When I have a boy, okay FINE, I’ll buy him his freaken Cap’t Crunch. But I’ll definately put my foot down when he starts pestering me for a thong.

    Choosing battles carefully and all of that.