Lidl to remove cartoon characters from its cereal packaging

Lidl has announced it will remove cartoon characters from its packaging on all its own-brand cereals in Britain.

The supermarket said it wants to encourage healthier choices and help parents tackle "pester power" from children while they shop in their stores.

In a survey of 1,000 parents of primary school-age children conducted by Opinium for the supermarket, three-quarters said they experience pressure from their children while shopping.

And half said they believe cartoon characters on cereal packaging encourages this, the research from February 2019 found.

Lidl said it will introduce cartoon-free packaging on its Crownfield cereals from spring 2020, to “allow existing stock to sell through and reduce waste”.

Lidl, which has 790 stores in Great Britain, said it has achieved a reduction of over 20% in the volume of sugar across its own-brand cereal range since 2015.

Lidl has announced it will remove cartoon characters from its packaging on all its own-brand cereals in Britain. Credit: PA

Georgina Hall, the firm's head of corporate social responsibility, said: “We know pester power can cause difficult battles on the shop floor and we’re hoping that removing cartoon characters from cereal packaging will alleviate some of the pressure parents are under.

“This latest move underpins our commitment to making good food accessible for everyone and helping customers lead healthier lives.”

Lidl’s new Frosted Flakes packaging without cartoon animals. Credit: Lidl/PA

At present, food firms are in a voluntary agreement with the Government over cutting sugar and fat in foods.

There is a mandatory “sugar tax” on soft drinks, which is proving much more effective than the voluntary agreement. It has led to a 28.8% reduction in sugar per 100ml of drink.

Lidl’s new Honey Hoops packaging will be without a cartoon bee. Credit: Lidl/PA

Katharine Jenner, a nutritionist at the charity Action on Sugar, said: “We fully applaud Lidl GB’s decision to remove cartoon characters from all its cereal packaging by spring 2020.

“If they can do it, why can’t everyone else? We hope the tide is now turning and that other retailers and food manufacturers will follow suit for both own-label and branded products.

“We’re in the midst of a child obesity crisis and it’s wrong to advertise sugary, fatty, salty foods to kids.

“It’s time for the Government to step in and underpin tighter advertising restrictions with similar rules for packaging and promotions.”