Sweetened UK yoghurts ‘named and shamed’ by health experts

Representative image by iStock

Sweetened flavoured yoghurts, that contain added sugar, syrup and fruit concentrate, are under scanner by health experts and researchers who are calling on the government to take action and for a ban on child-friendly packaging, media reports stated on Thursday (19). 

Nestlé Rolo mix-in toffee yoghurt tops the sugar content among yoghurts in the UK market, as per the experts, saying it has 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per 22g serving, equivalent to 16 malted milk biscuits.

Yoghurts with the lowest sugar content, as per the experts studying surveyed yoghurts, include Nush almond milk strawberry tubes, the Coconut Collaborative mango and passionfruit yoghurt, and Yoplait Petits Filous strawberry and banana yoghurt.

The researchers also found that two-thirds of the yoghurts surveyed were either medium or high in saturated fat. Those with the highest saturated fat content were dairy-alternative products, including the Coconut Collaborative yoghurts, which are often perceived to be healthy.

The researchers, who are part of the Action on Sugar charity, are calling on the government to introduce restrictions on the use of child-friendly packaging and to remove nutrition and health claims on yoghurts with medium or high sugar content.

Many such yoghurts’ packaging contain claims about health benefits, highlighting the presence of calcium, vitamin D and protein content, but the researchers have warned that these distract parents from scrutinising nutrition labels.

Graham MacGregor, a professor at Queen Mary, University of London, and the chairman of Action on Sugar, said: “With 10 children out of every class of 30 leaving primary school either overweight or obese, it is imperative that food companies act more responsibly and commit to reformulate sugar, salt and calorie reduction instead of foisting unhealthy products on us that contain child-friendly packaging with misleading nutrition and health claims.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said that there is more to do and later this year the UK will be launching “a consultation into infant food marketing and labelling as part of efforts to arm parents with the best information”.