Cereal-based snack bars are losing the Heart Foundation’s Tick.

Heart Foundation Tick programme manager Deb Sue says the products tend to be high in sugar and saturated fat, and don’t offer much “quality nutrition”.

Be Natural Trail Bars and Tasti are the two brands that carry the Tick. The brands have been given 12 months to remove the Tick from their packaging.

Last year, a Consumer NZ survey found many snack bars were high in energy, saturated fat and sugar and shouldn’t be considered everyday foods. When we calculated the health star rating for 35 snack bars, only nine earned three or more stars (the ratings range from half a star to five stars – the more stars the better).

The Heart Foundation is also introducing a sugar criterion for breakfast cereals and nut and seed bars, which will continue to be included in the Tick programme.

Breakfast cereals will be able to contain up to 25 percent sugar. Ms Sue says there are about 15 cereals on the market with the Tick that don’t meet this criterion. Companies have 12 months to reformulate.

Nut and seed bars will be allowed to contain up to 30 percent sugar and a maximum of 12g of sugar per bar. Bars containing fruit but have no added sugar will also qualify for the Tick.