When it comes to understanding the challenge facing the nation on obesity, yoghurt is a good place to start.
It’s one of the most common items in our shopping basket. We spend more on it than we do on crisps and bacon.
In its normal state – natural full-fat – it’s pretty good for you. It can boost your immune system, is good for your bones and is great at satisfying hunger.
The problem is that a great deal of the yoghurt we buy is not the natural stuff. Instead we seem to like the processed products, which are made by partly substituting yoghurt and adding a combination of other ingredients such as gelatine, sugar and flavourings. It tends to be cheaper to produce per calorie, but nowhere near as good for you.
The Food Foundation campaign group has taken a look at this. In a report earlier this year, the group analysed Muller Corner yoghurts, the brand leader accounting for about 15% of the market.
Muller produces a number of different types, one of which is the crunch corner series of yoghurts. They contain between 21g and 30g of sugar – most of this is from added sugars rather than natural sugars from milk.
For a young child these products can contain almost enough sugar to take them close to their daily recommended sugar intake. For adults they commonly have enough to take them over the halfway mark.
To support sales, Muller Corner heavily invests in advertising. It is the dairy industry’s biggest spender – investing over £10m a year in 2015, the Food Foundation report said.
The vast majority went on TV adverts, including during X Factor, which, while watched by many children, is not covered by the ban on junk food advertising, which only applies to programmes aimed solely at children.