A New Low Charged In Cereal Marketing

Posted: March 21, 1990

A consumer group complained yesterday that supermarkets were luring children to sugar-laden cereals by placing them on shelves at their eye level.

Such displays add to the problems of getting children to eat more nutritious foods, said the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

A CSPI spokeswoman said that the organization had surveyed supermarket cereal displays and found child-oriented cereals in colorful packages generally placed on lower shelves than the more nutritious cereals marketed for adults.

"That makes it more likely to catch the attention of a child walking by," said Victoria Leonard. "Children are being bombarded by candy ads that are masquerading as cereal."

CSPI volunteers in November recorded the location of cereals displayed in 27 grocery stores in the Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore and Washington areas.

"The average position of 10 child-oriented brands was the next-to-bottom shelf, while the average position of 10 adult brands was the next-to-top shelf of a typical four-shelf-display," the center said.

All 27 stores displayed adult cereals such as Grape Nuts or Nutri-Grain, which have an average sugar content of 10 percent, on higher shelves than child-oriented products such as Froot Loops and Cap'n Crunch, with an average sugar content of 44 percent, the center said.

Surveyors shopped at stores of several supermarket chains, including Giant Food Inc., Safeway and Lucky Stores Inc.

Officials of Lucky's had not received a copy of the survey and declined to comment, said Judy Decker, spokeswoman for the company. Officials of other stores and food marketing industry representatives did not immediately return phone calls.

The center has written the stores asking that they change the displays and elevate the children's cereals.

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LOCAL RESTAURANT NOTES:

Two Philadelphia restaurants won prizes in the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association's annual menu contest - Tequila's Mexican Restaurant, 1511 Locust St., and Christopher's Bakery / Cafe, 1700 Market St. . . . Vincent's Mansion House, specializing in pastas and Italian seafood dishes, has opened at 200 Jersey Ave., Gloucester City, N.J.

COOKING WITH YOGURT WILL BE FEATURED IN SOUTH JERSEY.

Cynthia Wilks, a registered dietitian and instructor in Glassboro State

College's home economics department, will present the free program tonight at 7 at the South Jersey Gas Co.'s Natural Gas Advantage Store in the Center at DoubleTree , Delsea Drive (Route 47) in Glassboro. Participants will receive recipes and food samples. For additional information, call 609-589-5500.

A RESTAURANT SHOW WILL ADDRESS TOPICAL BUSINESS CONCERNS.

The Garden State Restaurant Show, April 2 and 3, at Monmouth Park Race Track, Oceanport, N.J., will feature a seminar series designed to aid restaurateurs. Topics include capturing select markets, restaurant design and state assistance for small businesses. A full schedule of the seminar series can be obtained by calling 201-837-8200.

YOUNG COOKS ARE INVITED TO ENTER A TURKEY RECIPE CONTEST.

Entry deadline for the national Turkey Lovers' Recipe Contest, intended for children 12 to 18, is April 15. Recipes must be accompanied by two essays - one describing the recipe's nutritional qualities and another describing proper food-handling techniques for preparation. The winner will receive $1,000 and an expenses-paid trip to Washington. For complete contest rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to RULES, National Turkey Federation, 11319 Sunset Hills Rd., Reston, Va. 22090.

SCRAPPLE WILL BE THE TOPIC OF A LECTURE.

The talk will be given at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St., by Ken Finkel, curator of prints at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The lecture, which is one of the nonrestaurant events of the Book and the Cook Weekend, is free with museum admission: $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for those 6 to 18 years old. For additional information, call 732-6200.

HERE'S SOME YOGURT TRIVIA.

The National Yogurt Association, a New York trade association, says that strawberry is the most popular yogurt flavor, followed by plain; that 85 percent of yogurt consumed is flavored with fruit or fruit purees; that nonfat yogurt products now account for 11 percent of sales, and that 32 new refrigerated yogurt products were introduced in 1989.

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