FFS_LandingPg_395x220Look at all those happy, healty kids.  The Kellogg Corporation wants you to believe that by eating a processed carb and sugar-laden breakfast, these kids will be more “alert” in school and that their products build optimal nutrition.  This is marketing genius at its height, folks.  I know my readers will have enough saavy not to be fooled by the claims of such propaganda (which appeared in my Sunday paper this week), but I just couldn’t let this go.

To see the entire “campaign” for Children’s “Nutrition” by Kellogg, you can click through the pages here, but the website doesn’t give justice to the colorful, multi-page insert that came in the paper.  The document starts off by showing Tony the Tiger giving a “Thumb’s Up” sign, surrounded by boxes of Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Pops, and Fruit Loops.  Yeah, the healthy stuff. They don’t even pretend to promote the Raisin Brain here; it’s straight to the sugar cereals.

Rev up your day with Kellogg’s™ Fuel for School™ program. Starting the day with a balanced, great-tasting breakfast can put you on the fast track to good nutrition. Many kids and adults forget this important first meal. And nutritious snacks from Kellogg allow for easy-to-pack lunches and after-school snacks! So the next time you head to the grocery store, plan ahead and you’ll have the right snacks on hand with the nutrients to balance your family’s diet. At Kellogg, we have great snacking options all through the day.

Ok, let’s examine these “nutritous breakfasts” and their components:

Fruit Loops: SUGAR; CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; OAT FLOUR; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, COTTONSEED, AND SOYBEAN) †; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME, AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; NIACINAMIDE; TURMERIC COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; ANNATTO COLOR; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.
† LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING.

Wow, Kellogg. You’ve really outdone yourselves!  A bowlful of sugar, processed grain flours, and artificial colors (oh, and don’t forget the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils!)  This looks like a really nutritious breakfast for my child!

The website claims that this is a balanced breakfast.  Remember when they used to say “this is part of a complete breakfast” showing eggs, bacon, orange juice, and a side of processed cereal? Well, apparently now Fruit Loops is considered balanced all by itself. Nice.

Question: What makes this balanced, again?

Oh, it’s not.

And then, there are Pop Tarts. Do people actually believe these are healthy breakfast options for kids?!?! I’m not trying to be snarky…I’m just really curious.  A junky dessert, maybe, but seriously, a breakfast? Really Kellogg’s????

Oh, and don’t forget Eggo waffles! I’ll spare you the ugly nutritional details, but if you are interested, you can see all the ingredients of their products on their product website. 

Enough about breakfast. What about snacks?

How about “Yogo’s Bits” or Morningstar Farms “Chik’N Nuggets”.  If you ever wondered what a “Chik’N’ looks like, here you have it:

TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WHEAT GLUTEN, WATER FOR HYDRATION), WATER, ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, CORN OIL, CORNSTARCH, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF WHEAT STARCH, SALT, METHYLCELLULOSE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, DEXTROSE, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS FROM NON-MEAT SOURCES, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, DISODIUM INOSINATE, SOYBEAN OIL, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONION, PAPRIKA, DRIED YEAST, INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, CARAMEL COLOR, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM ALGINATE, SPICES, YELLOW CORN FLOUR, PAPRIKA EXTRACT FOR COLOR, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR COLOR, BAKING SODA, GARLIC, TOMATO POWDER, CELERY EXTRACT, WHEAT FIBER, LACTIC ACID, SAFFLOWER OIL, BARLEY EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, NIACINAMIDE, EGG WHITES, NONFAT DRY MILK, SUCCINIC ACID, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, IRON (FERROUS SULFATE), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), VITAMIN B12.

Ok, I have another question processed food manufacturers: Why the heck do you use so many billions of ingredients to make one product???? Is the extra tapioca dextrin really necessary?

So what are the alternatives? Are there ways that busy moms getting kids ready for school can send them off with a nutritious breakfast on the go?

Check out my 5 day breakfast meal plan for busy moms for some kid-tested, real nutrient-dense foods that can be made ahead or on in 10 minutes or less!

Other than making your own food, you can Fight Back against the propaganda by:

1) Ignoring it and making informed choices for Real Foods.

2) Writing to companies like Kellogg’s.  Take a moment to let them know that there are consumers who want Real Food.  It’s is possible to package and provide nourishing convenience foods, but companies have to know  there’s a market for it.  I personally wrote to Kellogg’s at what a disgrace I think it is that the food they are promoting for children is linked to childhood obesity, type II diabetes, and weakened immunity.

3) Vote with your dollar and use your hard-earned money to support local farmers and distributors of local organic products for nourishing breakfast foods.

4) Get informed on all the Real Food news at Real Food Media and check out what the other Food Renegades are saying this week on Fight Back Friday!

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18 Responses to “Kellogg’s Propaganda on Children’s Nutrition”

  1. Jen Identicon Icon Jen says:

    I seriously felt nauseous reading those ingredient lists! No way will my son be consuming this JUNK!! “Fuel For School”… WHAT?!?!?

    I already do #1, 3, and 4 above. Perhaps it’s time to email them?

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  3. peg Identicon Icon peg says:

    Enjoyed your post!! It really is disgusting how misleading this advertising and others like it can be. Do you think there really are people out there who believe this? It should be a crime for them to tell so many lies. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

  4. emily Identicon Icon emily says:

    i hope that some people not totally into real foods ye, read this and re-think their food choices, at least for their kids. i know people who feed their kids “toaster strueddals” for breakfast, and yes, i have fed my kids junk cereal for a special treat before too. but usually we have eggs, baon and fruit or somthing else. it realy makes me mad to walk into a grocery store and have this horrid crap just screaming to my kids that they NEED and WANT it soooo bad. then i become the “bad” one who wont buy fun food, sigh, it is depressing.

  5. Rosy Identicon Icon Rosy says:

    I used to eat Chick’n all the time, and I still crave Fruity Pebbles. They are terrible foods. I am sorry to say they are also very addictive. However It has been 2 years since I ate any Fruity Pebbles, and 1 1/2 year since eating Chick’n.

  6. dina Identicon Icon dina says:

    Oh…. but the Raisin Bran is full of crap, too! I was trying to find a flake cereal for a recipe I wanted to try. We don’t typically have breakfast cereal here at our house – the kids just don’t like it. So off to the store I went.

    I left just steaming mad. It’s all just junk!

    I’m so with you on this rant, girlfriend!

  7. The picture reminds me of the happy images used on drug commercials as they rattle off the long list of drastic and potentially life threatening side effects.

    This type of marketing is bad enough for adults, but it’s even more despicable when it directly impacts children. Shameless!

  8. Fantastic post. It’s really absurd what they are pushing.

    I hadn’t thought of how they used to say “part of a balanced breakfast” — you’re right!

  9. I love this post, especially that you named names and listed ingredients. Brilliant!

    Unfortunately, far too many parents believe the hype. Posts like these help shake the processed food mountain down.

  10. Nina Identicon Icon Nina says:

    I saw the same circular in my weekly free newspaper (which btw I cannot get the publisher to stop sending me no matter how many time I call and email).

    What makes me really sad is that some people believe this garbage. And those children will be educated right along side my children. How possibly can a pop tart fuel the brain for a long morning at school.

    I’ve shared this on my blog and hope others will read it as well. Thanks for using your talents to educate.

  11. Wow, a year ago I was really excited about this Fuel for School promotion. Alot of coupons came out for with the promotion and I was busy hunting down deals for cereal and frozen waffles, so I could submit the rebate that also goes along with this.

    Now – I’m feeding my family soaked oatmeal, soaked waffles, pastured pork sausage, scrambled pastured eggs, homemade yogurt, kefir and fresh fruit for breakfast.

    What a difference a year makes!

  12. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    Wow, everyone!

    Thanks for the back-up! I was worried I might get flamed for being too much of a food snob! Working Home Keeper, I am so proud of you for making the switch!!! Good for you. I know, those rebates and coupons make it so enticing, but then you realize the REAL costs of eating non-food….

    Nina, thanks so much for spreading the word.

    Dawn, I sure hope to make the mountain fall! Thanks for the encouragement!

    Cheeseslave: I know, i thought it was totally “off” even when I saw those ads as a kid. “Uh, yeah, the rest of it is a balanced breakfast….”

    Vin: Great point about the drug commercials! I will save a whole future blog post rant for those! I always just laugh when I hear that list of “possible side effects” that seem to far outweigh any possible benefit from the drug!

    Dina: Good point about the Raisin Bran; it’s awful too. I just thought Kellogg’s would have the decency to at least trot out it’s “sort of healthy” phake phoods to doop the parents.

    Emily: Keep doing what you’re doing and just tell your kids straight up what happens inside your body when you eat the crap food. That’s what I tell my 4 year old and she totally understands and doesn’t even try to eat junk food, even when it’s all around her at church and at birthday parties. You teach! You teach! You teach!

    Peg and Jen: I’m so glad the post impacted you. Now let us go forth and spread the news!!! Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if Kellogg’s sales suffered because more folks were making their own food?!?!?!

    I wonder when the FDA is going to ban parents from cooking their own kids food….

  13. Meg Identicon Icon Meg says:

    *sigh* It almost makes me feel sick to my stomach with the nonsense they try to pretend is “food” these days… I grew up vegetarian (we’re Seventh-day Adventist), so Morningstar/Worthington, Kelloggs, and soy (all Adventist (originally)) featured prominently in our diets. Until my mother actually researched what all that “science” was on the label of a can of Fri-Chik ;) That put a quick end to it.

    Now, we eat eggs with butter, homemade yogurt, raw goat milk, and LOTS of fruit. Praise God! :) True health food!

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  15. Excellent post! I wish people would learn to read the ingredient list on a label- it’s the only part of the label that matters. Instead they fall for the marketing hype and miss out on eating real, healthy food.

  16. Kate Identicon Icon Kate says:

    My husband saved that “Fuel for School” thing from the newspapaer just to see my outrage at it! Fuel for school if you want your child to FAIL at school and pick up every virus that comes along! You are not being a food snob at all!

  17. The other thing is–you’re eating a lot of AIR. I know they leave that out as an ingredient, but the cereals are puffed up with air (ever notice how much a Cheerio shrinks when you get it wet, say, with milk, and then it gets stuck on the side of the bowl? If you don’t do the dishes immediately, it will harden and dry–half it’s original size.)

    So, it’s not filling, either.

    I grew up eating cold cereal and I was always REALLY hungry by 10am, at school.

    And you know, if your children qualify for a free lunch at school and a free breakfast, that is what they get–poptarts, etc. The rules say the food HAS to be pre-packaged. Better than starving, I guess, but not much–they’ll still be hungry and not well-nourished.

    I used to buy Cheerios for my toddlers. Over 3 years ago we ran out when we started living on our food storage.

    I will never go back to buying cold cereal for breakfast.

    Now, we eat like The Working Home Keeper–cooked breakfasts, and no one is hungry at 9am for a second breakfast anymore!

    (Also, my daughter recently was given a cookie that was dyed green with food coloring. She HATED it, because she hated the taste of the food coloring. She could tell the difference).

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