Comprehensive Nutrition Review of Grain-Based Muesli Bars in Australia: An Audit of Supermarket Products

Muesli bars are consumed by 16% of children, and 7.5% of adults, and are classified as discretionary in Australian Dietary Guidelines, containing “higher fat and added sugars” compared with core food choices. This study aimed to provide a nutritional overview of grain-based muesli bars, comparing data from 2019 with 2015. An audit of muesli bars, grain-based bars, and oat slices was undertaken in January 2019 (excluding fruit, nut, nutritional supplement, and breakfast bars) from the four major supermarkets in metropolitan Sydney. Mean and standard deviation was calculated for all nutrients on-pack, including whole grain per serve and per 100g. Health Star Rating (HSR) was calculated if not included on-pack. Of all bars (n = 165), 63% were ≤ 600 kJ (268–1958 kJ), 12% were low in saturated fat, 56% were a source of dietary fibre, and none were low in sugar. Two-thirds (66%) were whole grain (≥8 g/serve), with an average of 10 g/serve, 16% of the 48 g Daily Target Intake. HSR featured on 63% of bars (average 3.2), with an overall HSR of 2.7. Compared to 2015, mean sugars declined (26.6 g to 23.7 g/100 g; p < 0.001), and 31% more bars were whole grain (109 up from 60 bars). Although categorised as discretionary, there were significant nutrient differences across grain-based muesli bars. Clearer classification within policy initiatives, including HSR, may assist consumers in choosing products high in whole grain and fibre at the supermarket shelf.

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