Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars – Misleading? [Inside the label]

Kellogg’s keeps getting slammed with lawsuits related to misleading consumers. This time the product line in question is Nutri-Grain breakfast bars. According to Food Navigator:

The company is being sued in the US District Court of Southern California for violations of the Lanham Act, Unfair Competition Law, Common law of Unfair Competition, False Advertising Law, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

In their adverts, the company suggests that Nutri-Grain bars allow you to ‘Eat Better All Day’ because they contain calcium and whole-grains, but the plaintiffs insist that those claims are invalidated by the presence of trans-fats, which contribute to diabetes and heart disease. Read more…

A quick reminder, in November Kellogg’s settled with the state of Oregon, after misleading “immunity claims” on it’s Cocoa Krispies breakfast cereal.

Let’s take a look at Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Yogurt Bars Strawberry Yogurt to see what all the fuss is about.

What you need to know:

Here is the ingredient list. Take a deep breath:

CRUST: WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SUNFLOWER AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, HONEY, DEXTROSE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, NONFAT DRY MILK, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, CELLULOSE, POTASSIUM BICARBONATE (LEAVENING), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, PROPYLENE GLYCOL ESTERS OF FATTY ACIDS, SOY LECITHIN, WHEAT GLUTEN, NIACINAMIDE, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CARRAGEENAN, ZINC OXIDE, REDUCED IRON, GUAR GUM, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID.

FILLING: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, GLYCERIN, WATER, FRUCTOSE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND COTTONSEED OIL†, NONFAT YOGURT POWDER [CULTURED NONFAT MILK; HEAT-TREATED AFTER CULTURING], STRAWBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, MODIFIED TAPIOCA STARCH, SUGAR, CORNSTARCH, MALIC ACID, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CELLULOSE GEL, SALT, COLOR ADDED, CELLULOSE GUM, DATEM, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, MALTODEXTRIN, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, RED #40.
†LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING

Oh Dear.

Over 60 ingredients!

We won’t go over each one, but we did mark in bold all the sugar synonyms, and underlined the trans-fat.

Note that partially hydrogenated oil means there is trans-fat in the product, even if the nutrition facts label says it contains zero. This is because of a labeling loophole which allows values lower than half a gram per serving to be rounded down to zero.  Too bad that ANY amount of trans-fat is bad for you, and if you’re going to have any it should not be in a purportedly healthy food item.

Don’t be fooled by the strawberry puree concentrate, it is nothing more than sugar by the time it makes it into the filling. No fiber, no vitamin C lost in processing.

Another irritating feature of this product is the claim on the package “More of the Whole Grains your Body Needs.” Unfortunately the second ingredient here is enriched flour, aka refined white flour without any of the whole grain benefits such as fiber.

A serving is one bar, and it contains 14o calories. 13 grams of sugar account for about one third of  the calories, and the fiber count is a measly 2 grams – you really aren’t getting the benefits of the whole grains your body so “needs”.

All told, this is nothing more than a glorified snack bar. Much closer to Twix and Snickers than something that will allow you to “Eat Better All Day”.

What to do at the supermarket:

If you’re looking for a healthier snack to pack in your purse or backpack, how about a banana or an apple? Need something in a wrapper? Look for bars that have short ingredient lists and little or no added sugars. Not to mention partially hydrogenated oils.

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  • annie

    i’m just curious why you even bothered to add that question mark… ;)

  • Heidi

    wow, all that when something like larabar has 3-4 ingredients and is way better and more filling!

  • Bill

    A slice of bread is more nutritious.

  • S. Philips

    Nutri Grain bars are anything but healthy. The company (too bad they’re not alone) are scum. If they want their family members to be obese and/or with heart disease, go right ahead. This family will NOT tolerate such blatant disregard to what constitutes real healthy food choices and blatant, misleading marketing. I’d like to go into this company with a shot gun and blow them away…that’s what they deserve. So does BUSH and CHENEY for allowing food conglomerates to have TRANS FATS but still say there’s ZERO! I’d like to try that same approach with the teller at the bank!

    • Jeff Sanders

      Obama fix this? No? Let’s not play the blame the Republicans game then.

  • J Figue.

    Omg S. Phillips, well said

  • J Smith

    S Philips – CALM DOWN.

    Is this where you and your family are going to make your big stand? Against Nutri-Grain bars? Please. Maybe they’re not the paragon of health food but there are plenty of worse things to put in your body (Double Quarter Pounder, anyone?).

    Way to call an entire company “scum” because there are a couple of less-healthy aspects to a product they’re marketing as nutritious. I usually reserve the “scum” category for people like Hitler, etc. Nor do I think that anyone who presents a slanted image of a product they sell deserves to be *executed with a shotgun.* It’s called marketing.

    Bush wasn’t my favorite president either – far from it – but do you really think those two were PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for the FDA’s rule allowing companies to omit A WHOLE HALF GRAM of trans fats from their labels?

    If you want “blatant, misleading marketing,” think of, say, Miss Cleo in those old late-night “tarot reading” commercials. Not Kellogg’s.

    • FrankForum

      Not all stands need to be approved by you.  Where in the article do they call the company “scum”?  The author points are valid.  Your comment makes me wonder if you work for Kellogg’s marketing department.

      • Asfdkj

        I was replying to S Philips, the commenter, below, not the author of the article. You might actually want to read my whole comment before throwing in your $0.02, retard.

      • J Smith

        I was replying to S Philips, the commenter, below, not the author of the article. You might actually want to read my whole comment before throwing in your $0.02, retard.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T57TUXT2TEKULM3THML74XE23U Mario

    awesome, i KNEW these were too good to be true lol. I couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients, so i knew something was sketchy

  • http://www.facebook.com/nbortiz Nahir Belinda Ortiz

    NUTRI-GRAIN BARS IS A CANDY BAR WHERE THE ONLY THING NATURAL ABOUT IT IS THE WRAPPER!  BEWARE PEOPLE

    • Jeff Sanders

      Eh, not sure you really though before ya posted there…

  • http://www.facebook.com/nbortiz Nahir Belinda Ortiz

    NUTRI-GRAIN BARS ARE CANDY BARS WHERE THE ONLY NATURAL PRODUCT IS CONTAINED IN THE WRAPPER!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nbortiz Nahir Belinda Ortiz

    ITS APPLES AND BANNANS