Food giants resist calls to eliminate cartoon characters from junk-food packaging

The Sydney Morning Harold
Esther Han

Cartoon characters on food packaging such as Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam are fuelling Australia’s childhood obesity crisis and should be restricted, public health experts say.

Researchers at the Obesity Policy Coalition surveyed 186 packaged foods with cartoon characters designed to lure children, and found 52 per cent were classified as unhealthy, based on Food Standards’ Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion.

They found 87 per cent of snack bars, 61 per cent of cheese snacks and 32 per cent of breakfast cereals featuring colourful cartoons were unhealthy, laden with fat, sugar and/or salt.

They pinpointed Nestle’s sweet and sticky “fruit” straps Roll-Ups, Streets Paddle Pop and its Lion, and Kellogg’s sugary Frosties, Coco Pops and Froot Loops breakfast cereals as some of the worst offenders.

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