STAT NEWS, MEXICO CITY — Kellogg’s is waging a war here over Tigre Toño and Sam el Tucán.
A 2019 policy requires companies that make unhealthy foods to include warning labels on the front of any boxes they sell in Mexico to educate consumers about things like excess sugar and fat.
Any food with a warning label — like Kellogg’s Fruit Loops or its Frosted Flakes, which typically contain more than 37 grams of added sugar in a 100-gram serving — is also banned from including a mascot on its packaging.
Kellogg’s, the company behind the mascots known in the United States as Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam, has already sued the Mexican government over the labeling policy. And now, it’s ratcheting up its marketing to keep Toño and Sam alive:
Toño has curated a Spotify playlist, starred in a commercial alongside a famous Mexican soccer announcer, and even has seen his likenesses illuminated in the sky by drones, in a light show high above Mexico City.
In supermarkets, you’ll still see Toño and Sam on the shelves. They’re advertising new versions of Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes that claim to be low in added sugar; the nutrition facts for both products say they have roughly one gram per serving. The company replaced sugar with the sweetener allulose.
Mexican authorities expected this. They included a provision in the policy that required companies to also warn when products contained artificial sweeteners.
But, according to media reports, the food industry successfully lobbied the Mexican government to not classify allulose as a sweetener.
“We fully comply with the regulation requirements, while at the same time we developed different new food options for our consumers,” Kellogg’s said in a statement, adding that “allulose is clearly labeled and fully meets the regulatory requirement in Mexico” …