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Examining the relationship between sugar content, packaging features, and food claims of breakfast cereals
Marília Prada (Prada, M.); Magda Saraiva (Saraiva, M.); Claúdia Viegas (Viegas, C.); Bernardo Pereira Cavalheiro (Cavalheiro, B. P.); Margarida Garrido (Garrido, M. V.);
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Excessive free-sugar intake has become highly prevalent in numerous countries, and Portugal is not the exception. One product category that contributes to the daily intake of free sugars is breakfast cereals. In the current work, we identified 289 exemplars from two major retailers in Portugal and collected information on their nutritional profile (e.g., sugar, salt, fiber per 100 g), price, packaging features, type of food claims present (e.g., statements about the composition, sensory features, the origin of the product), and ingredients list. Overall, the sugar content of breakfast cereals was high (Mean = 19.9 g), and less than 10% of the products complied with the current national guidelines (i.e., 5 g of sugar per 100 g of product). Sugar (or other sugar sources) was listed in the top three ingredients for over 85% of the products. On average, each product included about four claims (Mean = 3.9), and sugar content was lower when the claims were related to the product composition. Critically, the sugar content was particularly high for children-oriented products (Mean = 26.4 g). Correlation analysis showed that breakfast cereals with higher sugar content also were cheaper and had lower quantities of fiber, proteins, and salt. Our findings suggest the need to implement strategies to reduce sugar in this product category (e.g., incentivize manufacturers to reformulate products). Also, our results may inform strategies aimed at promoting consumers’ awareness about the sugar content in breakfast cereals and other processed foods, facilitating healthier decision-making.
Sugar,Claims,Labeling,Nutritional profile,Breakfast cereals
  • Ciências da Saúde - Ciências Médicas
  • Ciência Animal e dos Lacticínios - Ciências Agrárias
Registos de financiamentos
Referência de financiamento Entidade Financiadora
LISBOA-01-0145-FEDER-028008 Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
UIDB/03125/2020 Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
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