Nestle India says 'have been cutting sugars in baby food' after damning report
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Nestle India says 'have been cutting sugars in baby food' after damning report

A study has revealed high levels of added sugar in Nestle's leading baby food brands, Cerelac and Nido, being sold in India and some other countries. Nestle India has reacted to the report.

Nestle's leading baby food brands - Cerelac, a cereal aimed at children aged between six months and two years, and Nido, a follow-up milk formula brand intended for use for infants aged one and above, contain high levels of added sugar and honey, a report has revealed.

According to the Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation, the sugar contents were found in Nestle's brands promoted in low and middle-income countries. This is contrary to international guidelines aimed at preventing obesity and chronic diseases.

In India, where sales surpassed 250 million dollars in 2022, all Cerelac baby cereals were found to contain added sugar, on average nearly 3 grams per serving, the study revealed.

Meanwhile, in a statement, a Nestle India spokesperson said the company, for five years, has reduced added sugars by up to 30 per cent.

"We believe in the nutritional quality of our products for early childhood and prioritise using high-quality ingredients. Over the past 5 years, Nestle India has reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant in our infant cereals' portfolio (milk cereal-based complementary food)."

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Nestle India says 'have been cutting sugars in baby food' after damning report

"We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce levels of added sugars without compromising on quality, safety and taste," it said.

Following the report, added sugar in other countries was found as follows -

  • Thailand - 6 grams

  • Ethiopia - 5 grams

  • South Africa - 4 grams

  • Brazil - average 3 grams

  • Indonesia - 2 grams

  • Mexico - 1.7 grams

  • Nigeria, Senegal - 1 gram

In the Philippines, products aimed at toddlers contained no added sugar.

The result also found no added sugar in formulas for young children in Nestle's main European markets, including the UK.

While some cereals aimed at older toddlers were found to contain added sugar, none was found in products targeted at babies between six months and one year.

The results were found after campaigners from Public Eye sent samples of the Swiss multinational's baby-food products sold in Asia, Africa and Latin America to a Belgian laboratory for testing.

The results and examination of product packaging revealed added sugar in the form of sucrose or honey in samples of Nido and Cerelac.

According to the guidelines from the World Health Organisation for the European region, no added sugars or sweetening agents should be permitted in any food for children under three.

Source: India Today

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