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Will The FDA’s Proposed Guidelines Hurt Honey Nut Cheerios?

On September 28, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration proposed new guidelines.

The guidelines would require food manufacturers to meet requirements to label their packages “healthy.”

To qualify as healthy, food products must:

  • contain a “meaningful amount” of a food group or subgroup recommended by the Dietary Guideline.

  • limit saturated fats, sodium and added sugars based on the Daily Value depending on the food.

When I first heard of this, I thought, "Meh. So what? We’re not giving people enough credit. I think we all know what’s healthy and what isn’t."


Is a lack of understanding really the cause of nutrition/diet/health issues in the U.S.?

Are you choosing not to fill your meals with cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumbers because you don't understand they're healthy? Or are you avoiding them because they're more expensive, take longer to cook and because they're boring?

Are you eating McDonald’s because you don’t understand it’s unhealthy? Or are you eating it because it’s fast, easy, less expensive, and addictive?

The FDA is banking on it being an awareness issue. The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, had this to say:

“Healthy food can lower our risk for chronic disease. But too many people may not know what constitutes healthy food. FDA’s move will help educate more Americans to improve health outcomes, tackle health disparities and save lives.”

I can't say I agree with Mr. Becerra. And I would be shocked if these proposed guidelines fixed our country's nutrition issues.

But it might complicate things for certain brands.

Of all things to face more scrutiny with the proposed guidelines, cereal is taking center stage.

That’s right. Cereal.

Many cereals promote themselves as healthy but are they really?

Let's take Honey Nut Cheerios (or HNC because I'm lazy), as an example.

If you're like me, you might not immediately think of HNC when you think of healthy cereals. I mean, if my plan is to shed some weight, I can’t imagine HNC would ever be part of that plan.

But have you looked at their packaging recently?

Right there in big print in the front of their packages, it states: “Can help lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet.”

The Cheerios website also includes this with their product description for HNC:

“Pour a bowlful of this heart healthy cereal for breakfast or put the box on the family table for everyone to enjoy.”

Well, it looks like Cheerios might need to change both their packaging and their marketing if these proposed guidelines go into affect.

Will this hurt their bottom line?

And what other products might be affected?

I guess we’ll find out!


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