Recent statistics on consumption of breakfast cereals in the US contain some good news for health advocates: sales of these foods are declining. Those with high sugar content are decreasing the fastest. Cereals targeting children, such as Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, led the way with a 10.7 per cent decline between 2003-2013. The only cereals that experienced an increase in sales were those of the muesli variety; they had a 1.8 per cent increase during the same period. These are all American figures but trends in Canada appear to be similar.
This decline in sales of sugary cereals comes at the same time that purchases of other sugar laden products such as soda (soft drinks) are also decreasing. Purchases of soft drinks have been consistently falling since 2005. At the same time we are witnessing the growth of "virtuous fast foods." These are small but rapidly growing chains, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Tender Greens, that are focussed on food that is fast and affordable but also nutritious. The former recently reported an increase in quarterly profits of almost 26 per cent.
These trends are positive but we shouldn't leap to conclusions. A whole lot more will have to change in terms of overall eating and drinking patterns before we can be confident that healthy consumption has won out. And we'll need more reliable information.