All over town I've been seeing these ads. At first I didn't take notice (I tend to write off all food advertising as not worth my time), but something about this one didn't sit well with me.
I have two issues with this product. First, its the type of product from the food industry that I despise the most. Not necessarily because of its nutritional content (we'll get to that in a bit), but because of the assumptions it makes. This product assumes that we, modern humans, are just too busy to take the two seconds it would take to spread our own 'spread' on a piece of bread and we need this pre-packaged, processed solution. It is designed to eat on-the-go and encourages the type of rushed, unhealthy eating plaguing our society. Not only that, but it is pretending to be a healthy food!
Lets be clear, a piece of bread spread with something sugary and chocolatety (ahem, nutella) is not a healthy breakfast. Now, I enjoy nutella and eat it every once and while, but it is certainly not something to be consumed every morning with breakfast. So this product is taking an already unhealthy breakfast and making it more processed and packaged.
My second issue with this product is what you see down there at the bottom of the ad. Here's a zoom in:
To translate, that yellow text says "LU Petit Dejeuner contributes to a balanced breakfast with a fruit, a milk product and a hot beverage."
I read this to mean that the apple and milk product are healthy, and that you can add a Petit Dejeuner to make it less healthy. But most people aren't going to read that like I do. Unfortunately they are going to take this statement to mean that Petit Dejeuner is just as healthy as an apple and a glass of milk and part of a healthy breakfast.
(Does this sound familiar? Nutella recently got into some trouble in the US for claiming just such a thing)
To add insult to injury, do you really think people who are choosing this designed to eat on-the-go product are going to sit down and eat an apple and drink two beverages along with it? I highly doubt this will be the case.
And for the final piece de resistance, take a look at that ingredient list. Its tiny, and in french, so I'll translate. First ingredient: grains (58.9%) of which 35.3% comes from white flour and 23.6% whole grains/flours. The second ingredient: sugar. After that follows a litany of the processed foods cast of characters (additives, other forms of sugar, oils).
Each biscuit has 62 calories and 4.1 grams of simple sugars* So the package of three biscuits has 186 calories and 12.3 grams of sugar (that's 3 teaspoons of sugar by the way). Not the worst ever, but do you think eating 3 teaspoons of sugar for breakfast is a healthy way to start the day?
Does the 23.6% of this product coming from whole grains makes up for the rest of that ingredient list, including a good dose of sugar? Nope, sorry. Each biscuit has 0.66 g of fiber, making the pack of three contribute a whopping 1.98g of fiber. That doesn't go a long way toward the recommended 25-30g of fiber per day.
This is just another case where you'd be better off if you ignore the food advertising, ignore the pull towards the convenient and packaged products, and choose whole foods with real ingredients. How about a piece of 100% whole grain bread spread with (no sugar added) peanut butter + an apple and a glass of milk? Now that's a breakfast I'd be willing to endorse.
*dont sucre in French. From what I understand this is simple sugars -- glucose, fructose, etc -- and not necessarily added sugar. Although given that sugar is the second ingredient in this product most of the dont sucre is probably coming from added sugar. If someone has a more full explanation for the meaning of dont sucre on French nutrition labels, let me know!