FDA allows more vitamin D fortification in cereal and bars


Dive Brief:

  • The FDA approved increases to the fortification levels of vitamin D in cereal products and grain-based bars in response to a petition filed by Kellogg over three years ago.
  • According to the Federal Register, 560 IU per 100 grams of vitamin D3 is now allowed in cereal products, while 400 IU per 100 grams is permitted in grain-based nutrition bars. 
  • As consumers increasingly embrace health and wellness, formulators of foods like cereal are developing ways to increase nutrients to tout their health halos.

Dive Insight:

CPGs are continuing to look for ways to increase the nutritional aspects of their food products. For Kellogg, adding vitamin D provides a beneficial, sought-after nutrient to products like cereal, which have long been dogged by a perception of unhealthiness. The company last increased vitamin D fortification in its international cereal products in 2018.

According to Kellogg, over 90% of Americans do not consume enough vitamin D. The body naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, according to Healthline. People also obtain the nutrient through milk, egg yolks, seafood, fish oil and other foods fortified with it. Doctors recommend 20 micrograms per day. A team of Dutch researchers found in 2018 that lower levels of the nutrient correlate to increased stomach fat.

Six in 10 consumers said they want to add more vitamin D to their diet, according to Hartman Group research cited by Kellogg.

In recent years, consumers have been turning to vitamin D for protection against COVID-19, believing its immune-boosting properties could protect them from the virus. In a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports last November, vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 supplements reduced the risk of infection by 20% to 28%, respectively, and reduced the risk of death within 30 days by 33% and 25%.

However, other studies found mixed results. Research published by the British Medical Journal last July found “no statistically significant” effect of vitamin D supplement intake on contracting COVID-19.

As Kellogg aims to restore its market share in the cereal category after a disruptive period in late 2021 and early 2022, boosting healthy nutrients may be a way to differentiate its products over competitors. It’s a strategy the company has adopted before when it added probiotics to several Special K cereal products in 2017 amid a period of sluggish sales.

In a press release, Kellogg said it will now utilize higher levels of vitamin D in cereal and bar products, as well as new better-for-you Pure Organic Crackers made with cheese and vegetables that provide 10% of the daily value of vitamin D through mushroom powder, which will be rolled out in January.

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