Characters such as Tony the Tiger and Coco the Monkey, who appears on Kellogg's chocolate rice cereal Coco Pops, are still present on the new designs, but appear to no longer be holding the bowls or spoons themselves. Bowls of cereal no longer appear overflowing and instead are photographed from above. The Kellogg logo has been made larger and appears across the top of each box, while the name of the cereal itself has been made smaller (the Instagram post below shows the previous packaging).
Cartoon characters used in advertising and on packaging for children's food have come under scrutiny in the U.K. In January, Tom Watson, deputy leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, suggested that it would ban cartoons on cereal boxes if Labour came into power. "[We are] a nation overweight, unhealthy and addicted to sugar — thanks in large part to the efforts of the advertising industry … As politicians and policymakers, we are saying, get that monkey off your back. If the industry won't reform itself, we will do it for you," he told an Advertising Association conference in January this year.
Chris Ambridge, head of brand and design at agency Geometry U.K., said Kellogg's redesign is a "strategic evolution" and said the cartoon characters could even be dropped eventually.
"A cynic could argue the designs are a direct response to societal and legislative pressures. But pack redesigns don't happen overnight — I suspect Kellogg's revamp was informed by a proactive approach to responsible design. They've clearly identified the key brand assets on pack - which for many still include cartoon characters. However, the way those characters have been minimized implies a gradual migration plan — potentially with a long-term view of removing the characters altogether," he said in an email to CNBC.
The obesity problem in the U.K. has meant that Kellogg and other food manufacturers are under pressure to reduce sugar in processed food. Public Health England (PHE) wants the food industry to remove 20 percent of the sugar from products that contribute the most to children's intakes by 2020. In May 2018, PHE said breakfast cereals were among the food types that had met an ambition to reduce sugar by 5 percent by August 2017, the first year of its sugar reduction program.