News / Children's Food Campaign

Nestlé breaches Change4Life guidelines

Children's health campaigners advise the Department of Health that Nestlé's misuse of the Change4Life campaign branding is a wake up call it must not ignore.

Children's health campaigners say that snack food companies are undermining government efforts to encourage healthy eating after it was revealed that food giant Nestl is misusing branding from the government's 75m Change4Life anti-obesity campaign to promote its high-sugar products.

One of the key messages of the Change4Life campaign, of which Nestl is a partner, is sugar swaps, asking families to swap food and drink with added sugar for products lower in sugar or sugar free.  Nestl's Get set go free promotion, which encourages families to collect tokens from its products in order to claim family activities, carries the Change4Life logo on its website.  Yet a survey by the Children's Food Campaign found that 24 out of 27 products included in the "Get set go free" promotion are officially categorised as "high in sugar", according to the nutrition labelling system developed by the Food Standards Agency.

 As a "corporate partner" in the Change4Life campaign, Nestl should be complying with Change4Life brand guidelines which state that communications must support both physical activity and healthy eating.

 Children's Food Campaign Coordinator Christine Haigh said:

This is yet another example of the food industry claiming to promote healthy lifestyles whilst in fact encouraging families to eat more junk food.  No company that uses these practices should be allowed to be associated with a government health campaign, and this should be a wake up call for the Department of Health which wants to see companies like this more involved in the Change4Life campaign, not less.

 In February this year, health groups raised concerns after Kellogg's, another Change4Life partner, launched an aggressive marketing campaign which encouraged children to eat Coco Pops as an after-school snack, despite the fact that it contained more than one-third sugar.

  Ends

 For further information and interviews, please contact Christine Haigh on 0203 5596 777 or 07870 577934, or at Christine@sustainweb.org.

 

Notes to editors:

 1)      The Children's Food Campaign wants to improve children's health and well-being through better food - and food teaching - in schools, and protecting children from junk food marketing. We are supported by over 150 national organisations. The Children's Food Campaign is coordinated by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and funded by the British Heart Foundation. For more information visit: http://www.childrensfoodcampaign.org.uk/

 2)      Details of the "Get set go free" promotion are available at https://www.getsetgofree.com/Default.aspx.  A Change4Life logo has been visible in the top right-hand corner of the site's homepage for a number of weeks, and a screen print was taken at 10am on Wednesday 13 October. 

 3)      Advertisements for the Get set go free promotion show Nestl product branding in the shape of sports equipment, including a Kit Kat tennis racket, Milky Bar hockey stick, Fruit Pastilles swimming goggles and Shreddies rugby ball.

4)      The following products are included in the Get set go free promotion: 

Product
Sugars
(g per 100g/100ml)
Food Standards
Agency categorisation
 
 
 
Cereals
 
 
Cheerios
21.3
High (red light)
Curiously Cinnamon Grahams
32.8
High (red light)
Coco Shreddies
28.9
High (red light)
Cookie Crisp
35.8
High (red light)
Frosted Shreddies
28.8
High (red light)
Golden Nuggets
34.0
High (red light)
Honey Shreddies
30.2
High (red light)
Honey Cheerios
35.1
High (red light)
Nesquik
35.0
High (red light)
Shreddies
15.5
High (red light)
Fruitful Shredded Wheat
20.2
Medium (amber light)*
Shredded Wheat
0.9
Low (green light)
Bitesized Shredded Wheat
1.0
Low (green light)
Honey Nut Shredded Wheat
17.5
High (red light)
Clusters
23.3
High (red light)
 
 
 
Confectionery
 
 
Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles
56.9
High (red light)
Smarties
65.5
High (red light)
Milkybar
57.7
High (red light)
Rowntree's Randoms
59.1
High (red light)
KitKat
50.0
High (red light)
Toffee Crisp biscuits
48.2
High (red light)
Yorkie biscuits
41.9
High (red light)
Drifter biscuits
43.8
High (red light)
Blue Riband
50.0
High (red light)
Breakaway
42.1
High (red light)
 
 
 
Drinks
 
 
Nesquik powders chocolate
10.0#
High (red light)
Nesquik powders strawberry
11.0#
High (red light)

 

* The code reflects the amount of added sugars present. This product also contains naturally occurring sugars from the fruit (see note 8 for more details).

# based on 15g of powder with 200ml semi-skimmed milk

 All nutritional information was sourced from Nestl's websites and checked on 12 October 2010.

5)      Change4Life is a government health campaign which encourages people to eat well, move more and live longer.  It was launched in January 2009, with a 75million budget for the first three years.  More information about the campaign is available at http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx.

 6)      More details about the Change4Life Sugar swaps message are available at http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/low-sugar-healthy-snacks.aspx.

 7)      Details of partners and supporters of the Change4Life campaign, which include Kellogg's, Mars, Nestl and PepsiCo, are available at http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/national-partners.aspx

 8)      The traffic light labelling scheme was developed by the government's Food Standards Agency and is used by mainstream food manufacturers and retailers, including Asda and Sainsbury's.  More details are available at http://www.food.gov.uk/healthiereating/signposting/.  

The code for sugars in foods is determined in terms of both the total and added sugar components as follows:

         Green/low if total sugars are less than or equal to 5g/100g.

         Amber/medium if total sugars exceed 5g/100g and added sugars are less than 12.5g/100g.

         Red/high if added sugars are more than 12.5g/100g.

The code for sugars in drinks is determined in terms of both the total and added sugar components as follows:

         Green if total sugars are less than or equal to 2.5g/100ml.

         Amber if total sugars exceed 2.5g/100ml and added sugars are less than 6.3g/100ml.

         Red if added sugars are more than 6.3/100ml.

9)      The Change4Life Brand Guidelines for partner communications can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Documents/pdf/C4L_BrandGuidelinesCommNGOPartners.pdf 

 Nestle fail to fulfil the letter and spirit of the Brand Guidelines for partner communications, which state (p.11) any communication that uses Change4Life branding (or sub brands) must support our goal of encouraging desired changes in behaviour as regards both diet and activity levels. 

 The Get set go free promotion fails to encourage positive dietary changes and also does not include copy specified in the Brand Guidelines (p.13) that partners must use to highlight the need to both eat better and exercise more.

 [Our emphases]

10) More information about the opposition the Kellogg's Coco Pops campaign generated is available at https://www.sustainweb.org/childrensfoodcampaign/coco_pops/?dm_i=8UC,3I5Z,13PDD0,AXJ8,1

Published 14 Oct 2010

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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