Asda to remove cartoon characters from cereal boxes to tackle childhood obesity

Asda is removing cartoon characters from cereal packaging to help tackle childhood obesity [Photo: Getty]

In a bid to tackle childhood obesity and help lure children away from items packed with sugar Asda is getting rid of the cartoon characters from their cereal packaging.

The move is an attempt to address 'pester power' - when kids pester their parents for foods they think look good, and help parents make informed choices about their children's diets.

The initiative will see the supermarket chain remove the animated characters from 12 of its own brand cereal products and switch to more neutral packaging with all the health info displayed.

After recognising the pull of fun, colourful characters for kids, they will no longer see the likes of the green crocodile from Choco Snaps and the hippo from Honey Hoops.

Instead cartoon designs will be replaced with brand graphics and larger, product images.

READ MORE: Tesco £1 honey is 'bulked out with sugar' leading to concerns over health claims

Goodbye cartoon characters [Photo: Asda]

It isn’t just cereal packaging that is getting a healthier reboot either, the supermarket has also reduced the sugar content of its own brand cereals by 26% over the past five years.

And other snack-time faves have received similar sugar-less treatment with Asda removing sugar by more than 10% on average from yogurts, biscuits, ice creams, milk-based drinks and spreads.

The retailer says they have removed 11 billion calories in 2019 alone, as well as 1,329 tonnes of fat, 878 tonnes of sugar and 48 tonnes of salt from its own-brand products.

Beth Fowler, Nutritionist- Asda Brand: Technical and Quality, says: “We understand retailers play a crucial role in helping customers make more informed choices in the supermarket aisles, which is why we've taken the step to erase cartoon characters from our own brand cereals and significantly reduce sugar content by 26%.

“In fact, to inspire customers to make healthier, every day choices, we've launched a new 'Live Better' icon, signposting the healthiest options in Asda own brand ranges. It's just one of the many initiatives Asda is rolling out in 2020 to help make a positive impact on our customers lives.”

READ MORE: How much sugar is in your favourite 'healthy' drink? 

Choc-nut squares after [Photo: Asda]
Choc-nut squares before [Photo: Asda]

The following 12 cereals will see their cartoon characters removed:

  • Choco Hoops

  • Choc Balls

  • Rice Snaps Cereal Bars

  • Choco Snaps Cereal Bars

  • Frosted Flakes

  • Rice Snaps

  • Choco Snaps

  • Unicorn Hoops

  • Choco Squares 

  • Choco Nut Squares

  • Malted Wheaties 

  • Honey Hoops

The removal of cartoon characters on Asda own brand cereals will roll out in stores and online from the 24th February 2020.

Experts have been raising concerns about childhood obesity for some time.

Recent research has found that one in 25 children in England aged 10 or 11 are severely obese.

Measurements on children’s weight and height show the number of children classed as ‘severely overweight’ rose from 15,000 in reception to 22,000 by their final year of primary school.

The data was collected as part of Public Health England figures, and was analysed by The Local Government Association (LGA).

In a bid to help combat the problem, Public Health England encouraged parents to count the calories in their child’s snacks.