Sugar Content and Nutritional Quality of Child Orientated Ready to Eat Cereals and Yoghurts in the UK and Latin America; Does Food Policy Matter?

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 23;12(3):856. doi: 10.3390/nu12030856.


Ready to eat breakfast cereals (REBCs) and yoghurts provide important nutrients to children's diets, but concerns about their high sugar content exist. Food reformulation could contribute to sugar reduction, but policies across countries are not uniform. We aimed to compare the sugar content and nutritional quality of child-orientated REBCs and yoghurts in Latin American countries with the UK. In a cross-sectional study, nutritional information, marketing strategies, and claims were collected from the food labels and packaging of products available in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and the UK. Nutritional quality was assessed using the UK Ofcom Nutrient Profiling System. In total, 262 products were analysed (59% REBCs/41% yoghurts). REBCs in the UK had a lower sugar content (mean ± SD) (24.6 ± 6.4) than products in Ecuador (34.6 ± 10.8; p < 0.001), Mexico (32.6 ± 7.6; p = 0.001) and Guatemala (31.5 ± 8.3; p = 0.001). Across countries, there were no differences in the sugar content of yoghurts. A large proportion (83%) of REBCs and 33% of yoghurts were classified as "less healthy". In conclusion, the sugar content of REBCs in Latin America is higher than those of the UK, which could be attributed to the UK voluntary sugar reduction programme. Sugar reformulation policies are required in Guatemala, Mexico and Ecuador.

Keywords: children; food labelling; food marketing; sugar; sugar reduction policy.

MeSH terms

  • Breakfast*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Edible Grain / chemistry*
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Labeling
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Marketing
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Sugars / analysis*
  • United Kingdom
  • Yogurt / analysis*


  • Sugars