Breakfast cereals: can you trust the advertising?

Food researchers confronted food advertisers in a recent study; unsurprisingly they found that when it came to Front of the Packet advertising (FOP), the marketeers and sellers of processed foods managed to focus on the aspects of their foods they thought would persuade consumers to buy it, rather than the whole nature of the product.  Indeed, when it came to breakfast cereals’ they found that the types of claims were completely uncorrelated to actual nutrition quality. Of course, the point of FOP is to influence the inferences consumers make about taste, healthiness, and dieting.

Yet while the health claims that manufacturers make on food packaging might not match a product’s nutritional benefits, the important point the researchers recognised is that people still make buying decisions based on these claims. Hence the impact of words such as, ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘free’, ‘improved’, for example, ‘high in protein’ or ‘high in calcium’, ‘gluten free’ or ‘low in cholesterol’.

By highlighting in particular the positive attributes of the food, the study found the type of claim would help consumers predict the product’s healthfulness, taste, or dieting properties, even though none of the claims explicitly said that they would make them healthier or aid weight loss. The study concluded FOP claims rarely reflect the whole story, more often not truly reflecting a product’s ingredients and how they relate to health or weight loss.

As far as Just Routine is concerned any cereal brand that is big enough to have a marketing budget is best avoided. Better to eat some oats, with some honey, berries, nuts and seeds to taste, always allowing for individual allergies of course.

Make eating real food Just Routine

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