Coco Pops ad 'irresponsible'

Consumer groups are aghast over Kellogg’s new TV advert for Coco Pops because they claim it encourages children to eat the equivalent of a Kit-Kat for breakfast.

Which? believes the food company’s Coco Pops Straws ad is “irresponsible,” as it promotes drinking milk by sucking it through chocolate biscuits.

The consumer watchdog says the food giant’s chocolate straws are so laden with sugar – 10.5g per serving- that “it’s like having a two-finger Kit-Kat for breakfast.”

Which? has reported its claims to the Advertising Standards Authority, so it can probe whether strict advertising codes have been broken by implying Coco Pops Straws are healthy.

“This advert sends a confusing message about what is healthy and what is not to both children and parents,” said Sue Davies, Which? policy adviser.

“It's yet another example of the irresponsible and underhand marketing techniques used to push unhealthy food to children.”

According to Which?, the offending advert asks: 'How far would you go to get milk into your kids? Well here's an easier way. New Coco Pops Straws is a totally different kind of breakfast. Delicious cereal straws with a yummy chocolatey lining; your kids won't be able to stop slurping. New Coco Pops Straws make milk more fun.'

Defending the claims, Kellogg insisted the promotion set out to explore new ways mothers can turn their children on to milk.

“The TV speaking to mums through a Making Milk Fun campaign that also focuses on communicating to them that there is more than one way of encouraging kids to consume milk as part of a balanced diet,” the company said in a statement.

Responding to the sugary content of Coco Pops Straws, Kellogg said, “A serving… provides 11 per cent of the guideline daily amount for sugar, which is half the amount of two slices of toast with jam or marmalade.”

The food retailer added it would respond to any enquiries from the ASA; a move that is encouraged by the authority, with failure to do so resulting in a breach of the advertiser’s code.

But Which?, a vocal critic of junk food advertisers targeting children, remains defiant despite Kellogg’s reassurance.

“Kellogg's claims that a 31g serving provides at least 17 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals,” Which? said in a statement.

“However, there's no justification for encouraging consume a high-sugar product at breakfast when the same vitamin content can be provided by other, healthier means.”


22nd February 2006

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