Hillary adds cereal to list of conquests

By Steve Deane

Sir Ed the face of breakfast foods 'to fuel the next generation of Kiwi adventurers'.

 Healthy Food Guide  nutritionist Claire Turnbull said the cereal appeared to stack up nutritionally. Photo / Greg Bowker
Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull said the cereal appeared to stack up nutritionally. Photo / Greg Bowker

He was the first man to conquer Mt Everest and travelled to the North and South Poles.

He built schools in Nepal, has graced the cover of National Geographic, and has his own bank note. Now Sir Edmund Hillary will, posthumously, lend his name and image to a range of cereals and breakfast spreads.

While Sanitarium's website claims Sir Edmund "ate Weet-Bix during his historic climb to the top of Mt Everest in 1953", it's not the the Kiwi favourite his image is promoting.

Hillary Cereal & Nuggets, Cereal & Nuggets Banana & Honey and spreads Peanut+ and Peanut+Honey are "loaded with performance nutrients to fuel the next generation of Kiwi adventurers", according to publicity material.

A joint initiative between the Hillary family and Smartfoods - which makes the Vogels range of cereals - the cereals contain 25 per cent protein, 25 per cent of the recommended daily intake of "supporting vitamins", 6 per cent fibre and "less than 15 per cent sugar".

According to the box, the Cereal & Nuggets Banana & Honey contains 14.9g of sugar per 100g serve. Consumer NZ regards 15g of sugar per 100g as high for a cereal.

Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull said the cereal appeared to stack up nutritionally.

"Looking at the nutritional information it certainly meets the criteria for what we would recommend in a healthy cereal," Ms Turnbull said. "In New Zealand we don't get enough protein at breakfast. And one thing we are encouraging people to do is spread their protein out through the day rather than having a big steak at night."

The products, which carry Sir Edmund's image, are already on the shelves in Pak 'n Save and New World supermarkets, with prices ranging from $6.49 to $6.99. They will also be available in Countdown supermarkets by the end of the week.

A portion of sale price will go to the Ed Hillary Charitable Trust, which supports the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, and the Himalayan Trust, which contributes to educational and health projects in Nepal.

The cereals' claims to being a healthy alternative were sound enough, Ms Turnbull said.

"No single food is going to make the difference. There are some terrible cereals on the market and this nutritionally is not one of them. People do buy things based on [the marketing] and it does meet the criteria we'd recommend for a cereal."

Taste test: Nut spread a winner

Sir Ed Hillary's legacy has added another feat to its impressive list - perfecting the crucial sticky/chewy ratio of peanut butter.

Incorporating honey and bran crisps into a "nutrient-loaded" peanut spread is not only a stroke of genius, but makes it lighter and less oily than regular peanut butter.

The bran adds a delightful crispy element that seems slightly runnier and easier to manoeuvre across your toast than other nut-butters.

The two cereal flavours did not appeal to this palate. Bland and cardboardy are two factors I try to avoid in any meal, let alone the most important of the day.

Admittedly, as a 20-something female I am probably not the target market for banana-flavoured protein powder encased in a grain nugget, but even for a high-sugar cereal (always a crowd pleaser), these were not very sweet.

- Morgan Tait

- NZ Herald

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