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Pre-packed lunchbox products - do they contain too much sugar and salt?

31 Aug 2011

Parents who give their children two pre-packed lunchbox products could add 22g sugar and 1.8g salt to their daily intake, according to new research from Which?

This figure is over a quarter of the recommended sugar intake and over half the maximum daily salt intake for a five year old.

Here are other highlights:

• The Fruit Factory Fruit Strings are almost 50% sugar - each 20g serving contains 9.6g sugar.

• Kellogg's Coco Pops Snack Bar contains 8g (42%) sugar per bar.

• Each 40g tube of Petits Filous Frubes contains 5.8g (14.5%) sugar.
• One pack of Dairylea Lunchables Ham'n'Cheese Crackers contains 1.8g salt, more than half the daily allowance of a 5 year old.

• Each 200ml bottle of Robinsons Fruit Shoot Juice (blackcurrant and apple) contains 22g (26%) sugar – over 4 teaspoons and a quarter of a 5-10 year old's guideline daily amount of sugar.

Eight in 10 parents who gave their child a packed lunch told Which? they included such pre-packed "children's food" in the lunchbox.

Richard Lloyd, executive director, Which?, said: "These products might seem like handy fillers for your child's lunchbox, but they can be bad for their health and your wallet. You're better off making your own children's lunches or giving them school dinners which are much more nutritionally balanced."

Which? wants clearer nutrition labelling on food, including traffic light labelling, to make it easier to choose healthy options.

School Food Trust senior nutritionist, Patricia Mucavele, said: "Making healthy packed lunches which give children the variety they need in their diet takes a lot of time and effort.

"Research consistently shows that school meals are the more nutritious option and when you look at how the prices compare, it has to be food for thought for parents wanting to give their children healthy lunches and save time and money this September."