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Action on Sugar

Lidl to remove cartoon characters from cereal boxes


Lidl is to remove cartoon characters from its own-brand cereal ranges to help parents resist pester power and tackle Britain’s growing childhood obesity crisis.

The discount retailer, which has almost 800 UK stores, pledged to remove cartoon characters from eight of its cereal ranges by spring.

The company said it was prompted to take action after nearly three-quarters of parents said their children pressurised them to buy certain items in the supermarket, with more than half believing cartoon characters on packaging encouraged this.

Georgina Hall, Lidl’s head of corporate social responsibility, said:

“We want to help parents across Britain make healthy and informed choices about the food they buy for their children. 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.”

Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director and Nutritionist at 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." 

The move follows the survey by Action on Sugar, Action on Salt and the Children’s Food Campaign in June 2019 which found that half of over 500 food and drink products which use cartoon animations on pack are shockingly HIGH in fat, saturated fat, sugar and/or salt.

  • Some products using popular TV and film characters e.g. Peppa Pig Candy Bites are 99% sugar
  • Half of all products are so unhealthy they couldn’t be advertised on TV during kids programmes, or on Transport for London

Action on Sugar, Action on Salt and Children’s Food Campaign are calling on government to ban cartoon animations on-pack that market unhealthy products to children, and to mandate ‘traffic light’ nutrition labelling

The move was closely followed by Asda who announced they were removing cartoon characters from their own label cereal boxes in a bid to make them less attractive to kids and reduce pester power during the weekly shopping trip.

Asda nutritionist Beth Fowler said:

“We understand retailers play a crucial role in helping customers make more informed choices in the supermarket aisles, which is why we’ve taken the step to erase cartoon characters from our own brand cereals.

“We’ve launched a new ‘Live Better’ icon, signposting the healthiest options in Asda own brand ranges. It’s just one of the many initiatives Asda is rolling out in 2020 to help make a positive impact on our customers lives.”

Media Coverage with Action on Sugar comment


Sky News

The Independent  

ITV News

Warrington Guardian


Devon Live

Gazette News

The Guardian


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