A couple of months ago, we published an article in relation to Kellogg’s challenge to the UK Government’s restrictions on the promotion of certain foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar. The restrictions include displaying restrictions in shops for less healthy products such as cereals with high-level sugars.
Kellogg’s raised proceedings against the restrictions but the Court upheld the UK Government restrictions, ruling that Kellogg’s will not be allowed to promote sugary cereals in retail outlets.
For a full breakdown of the challenge by Kellogg’s, please read our previous article here.
To recap, Kellogg’s sought to challenge the restrictions imposed by the UK Government on the basis that the nutritional value of cereal was calculated in its dry form, when the majority of consumers consume cereal with milk or yoghurt. Kellogg’s claimed that this had an impact on the nutritional value, as adding milk or yoghurt would reduce the proportion of salt and sugar relative to the weight of the serving.
As noted, the main argument upon which Kellogg’s relied was that by adding milk or yoghurt, the proportion of salt and sugar would be reduced relative to the overall serving. This argument, however, was rejected by the Court. In particular, it was noted that despite evidence showing that the majority of consumers consume cereal with yoghurt or milk, there are no instructions for preparation on the packaging of Kellogg’s cereals which states that the relevant cereal should be consumed with milk.
As such, in the Court’s view, while the majority of consumers may consume a cereal with milk, this is not prescribed by cereal manufacturers, particularly on the packaging, and, therefore, the nutritional value was correctly calculated by using cereal in its dry form.
Mr Silcock, Chief of UK and Ireland for Kellogg’s, stated that the company will not appeal the judgment but urges the UK Government to reconsider the restrictions. Cereals with high sugar levels (and other foods which are high in fat, sugar, salt) will be prevented from being placed in key spots within supermarkets such as checkouts, entrances, aisle ends and online equivalents. In addition, such goods cannot be included in promotional offers such as buy-one-get-one-free. These restrictions were set to come into force earlier in the year but were delayed due to the current economic climate and rising food prices.
It remains to be seen whether cereal manufacturers will introduce steps to make it clearer to consumers that cereal should be consumed with milk and yoghurt such as changing the packaging. However, there is no guarantee that such changes would be enough to change the view of the Court as, fundamentally, the Court upheld the UK Government’s view that cereals such as Kellogg’s Frosties and others contain excess fat, sugar and salt which could have an adverse impact on a child’s health.
This article was co-written by Haris Saleem, Trainee Solicitor.