LONDON – Breakfast food giant Kellogg Co. lost a legal bid Monday to block new anti-obesity measures in England banning the promotion of sugary cereals.
The U.S. company that makes Coco Pops, Frosted Flakes, Frosties and Rice Krispies had challenged the U.K. government over regulations taking effect in October restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar or salt.
A High Court judge rejected the company’s argument that the regulations don't take into account the nutritional value of milk added to cereal.
Judge Thomas Linden said that mixing a breakfast cereal that's high in sugar with milk does not change the fact that it's high in sugar.
Kellogg's argument that its cereals like Crunchy Nut Clusters and Milk Chocolate Curls “somehow become healthy products if they are consumed with milk is wholly unconvincing, as the addition of milk does not alter the nutritional profile of the products themselves," the judge wrote.
Under the regulations, unhealthy foods will be banned from high-profile locations in supermarkets such as checkouts, shop entrances and aisle ends. There will also be restrictions on how they're displayed in online supermarket search results. More rules taking effect next year will ban buy one, get one free offers and other multibuy promotions.
Kellogg U.K.’s managing director, Chris Silcock, said the company is disappointed but doesn't plan to appeal.
“By restricting the placement of items in supermarkets, people face less choice and potentially higher prices," he said, urging the government to rethink the regulations amid a cost-of-living crisis.