Kellogg's loses legal challenge to government food rules

The Royal Courts of Justice


The Food Foundation has welcomed today’s high court judgement rejecting Kellogg’s attempt to retain the right to promote high sugar cereals.

Kellogg’s was challenging Food Standards Agency regulations which classify more than half of its breakfast cereal products as less healthy, and which impose limitations on the company’s promotional tactics to sell more of them. 

"Kellogg's took the government to court over how it defines foods which are high in fat, sugar and/or salt - trying to argue that sugary breakfast cereals aren't sugary if they are served with milk," said Food Foundation Executive Director Anna Taylor.

"We are delighted good sense has prevailed and Kellogg’s lost on all counts. We need food companies who are prepared to show leadership on helping to tackle childhood obesity, and not act as a dead weight on policy intervention."

Today’s judgement from Mr Justice Linden actually says levels of obesity have increased from 9.9% in 2019/2020 to 14.4% in 2020/2021 among 4 and 5 year olds and from 21% to 25% among 10 and 11-year-olds in the same time frame. 

Although Kellogg’s tried to argue this was because of the Covid pandemic Justice Linden said that was irrelevant. His actual words were: "Children who are obese are more likely to suffer health issues including type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal pain and asthma.

"They are more likely to be bullied at school and to suffer psychological issues, and they are more likely to be obese as adults and, as a result, run an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers.

"The latest estimate of the cost to the NHS in England of obesity related health issues is £5.1 billion (in 2014/2015) and the estimated total cost to the wider economy is in the order of £27 billion. 

"The root cause of the prevalence of obesity and excess weight in the population is excess calorie consumption. Excess sugar consumption is associated with increased calorie consumption."

Anna Taylor, Executive Director, the Food Foundation said: “We think these words speak for themselves. It's time for businesses to show they are part of the solution - this means setting and reporting on targets for shifting sales of healthy and unhealthy food and supporting government policy intervention to create a level playing field so all businesses can behave more responsibly.”

"We are working with investors to highlight the need for a legislative strategy to rein in the commercial incentives which undermine the nation’s health. These issues are highlighted in our latest update to food industry investors."

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