Getting the tick of approval from the Heart Foundation just got a bit harder, as the organisation brings in more stringent sugar criterion.
Where previously only an energy criterion existed, breakfast cereals, and nut and seed bars will now need to meet new sugar limits.
Breakfast cereals will now have to have 25g of sugar or less per 100g. The Heart Foundation says 15 Tick-approved breakfast cereals no longer meet the criteria, and will need to reformulate in order to keep using it. They’ll have 12 months to do so.
Along with the re-introduction of a sugar criterion, the Tick programme has chosen to exit out of the cereal-based bars altogether.
Deb Sue, Tick Programme Manager, says “We have made the decision to remove the Tick from cereal-based bars, which includes some muesli bars, as these products are not consistent with other Heart Foundation nutrition messages.
“These products tend to be high in energy, sugar and saturated fat and don’t offer much in the way of quality nutrition. Whereas nut and seed bars tend to be more wholesome with higher levels of protein, healthy oils and fibre.”
Ms Sue says that while the re-introduction of a sugar criterion is a positive move for the Tick programme, the Heart Foundation wants to shift the focus from assessing foods based on individual nutrients, such as sugar, to looking at foods as a whole.
The move reflects recommendations by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health.