The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Agency is cracking down on Nestle for encouraging poor nutritional habits in children.
America may be known for its obesity epidemic, but the UK isn’t far behind. In fact, in 2013, 62.1% of adults in the UK and Ireland were considered to be overweight or obese.
As has been shared before, the high intake of refined sugars and low-quality fats is contributing to this problem. Unfortunately, few people know what to pick up at the grocery store because of all the misguided food advertising.
For example, many families indulge in Nestle’s Nesquick product as a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon treat. It’s advertised to be “a great start to the day,” so many assume it offers health benefits and must be good for the body.
Unfortunately, it is anything but. In one 200-millimeter drink made with 3 teaspoons of Nesquik hot chocolate, there are 20.2 grams of sugar.
According to the American Heart Association, the average man should consume up to 37.5 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of added sugars per day, and the average woman should consume up to 25 grams (6 teaspoons).
You can see, then, that this sugary drink is anything but optimal for health. And the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) recognizes this, which is why it is forcing Nestle, the product’s maker, to remove its claim that the beverage is “a great start to the day.”
Reports BBC News, Nestle reportedly said it was “disappointed with the ruling” but that it would remove the strapline. It is also “actively looking for solutions to help us reduce sugar.”
The agency upheld a complaint from the Children’s Food Campaign which argued the tag-line encouraged poor nutritional habits in children.
“Because the product was high in added sugar, we considered that the suggestion that Nesquik was a suitable regular breakfast option for children encouraged poor nutritional habits in children,” said the lobbying group.
Nestle isn’t going down easily, however. The Swiss food group argues that the majority of sugars found in the instant beverage come from lactose, which occurs in milk. It also says that the instant drink contains added vitamin C and D, zinc and iron.
A Nestle UK spokesman told HNGN:
“The advert for Nesquik Hot Chocolate shown on the label of a family-sized bottle of milk was undoubtedly targeted at adults who were shopping for their family, making it clear that the product should be consumed over a number of days, rather than in excess.
However, we always listen to concerns when they are raised.
As a responsible manufacturer and to remove any ambiguity in the future, we will no longer use the statement: ‘For a great start to the day!’ in our UK advertisements.” 
The company also says that the bunny on its packaging was “carefully designed to convey a physically active, energetic character who could promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Despite the company’s defense, there are many advocates for healthy, sustainable living applauding the ASA’s recent ruling.
Said Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign:
“The government should no longer leave marketing rules in the hands of industry and advertisers, but take a stronger lead in its forthcoming obesity strategy and introduce tougher restrictions protecting children.
It is the second time in almost as many years that we have forced Nesquik to change their advertising because it encouraged poor nutritional habits in children and could be seen to mislead parents about the health benefits of such a sugary product.”
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