Sugar in Easter Eggs

We don’t want to take the fun out of Easter, but given how many Easter eggs children typically get, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at how much sugar even the smallest of eggs could be packing in their tempting festive shells.

We went to a number of retailers, picked up a random selection of popular eggs in different sizes, 24 in total, and worked out the amount of sugar there was in each product. We think you’ll be surprised by what we found.

chocolate easter eggsThere was a time when a child got one or two Easter eggs each year, but now, in some households, a child’s stash of Easter eggs could run well into double digits. And when you see 3 medium sized Easter eggs for €5, it’s no wonder that these offers are hard to pass up, and children get presents of them from aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and neighbours, all well-intentioned treats. But after taking a closer look at the amount of sugar this adds up to, maybe this is something we need to reconsider.

Ask most children what they get for Easter, and typically their haul will include a chocolate bunny, some small cream eggs, a few medium sized eggs and a special large egg. But here’s the bit we need to think about. While many people may be aware of the fact that 1 small cream egg can be very high in sugar, with nearly 7 spoons of sugar in an individual egg, we were not expecting to find that the cute Easter bunnies that we surveyed contained from 13 to 28 spoons of sugar.

The sugar starts to add up. Of the chocolate egg products surveyed which would typically be considered as being suitable for children, when we included the additional treats that come with each egg, the average sugar content was 24 teaspoons. Small eggs and treats averaged 14 teaspoons, the medium sized eggs averaged 23 teaspoons, the large eggs averaged 37 teaspoons and the extra large eggs averaged 60 teaspoons. Now that’s a lot of sugar. The biggest egg surveyed by safefood contained 73 teaspoons of sugar which also included the two chocolate bars with the egg.

When you realise that just 1 medium Easter egg product, which contains on average 23 teaspoons of sugar, three times the maximum recommended amount for a six year old by the World Health Organisation, you begin to reassess what is value for money. None of us would intentionally sit a child down and give them 23 teaspoons of sugar, not alone 73, so maybe we need to take another look at how we treat them to treats.

Giving and receiving Easter eggs is something we’re all used to and something that children look forward to and rightly so. But it’s time we all became more aware of just how much sugar is in these popular eggs, the effect too much sugar is having on our children’s health and why we need to be more realistic when it comes to the ‘treats’ we give our children.

Easter Egg Survey Methodology

The sampling and nutritional analysis of Easter Eggs was conducted among a range of supermarket multiples and retail outlets during March 2016. A total of 24 chocolate egg varieties were purchased at random and the product labels were analysed to determine their sugar content and sugar teaspoon equivalent. Broadly, the Easter eggs were categorised as ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Large’ and ‘Extra Large’.

*World Health Organisation (WHO) sugar intake levels

This comparison is based on the limit of 10% energy for sugar currently recommended by the WHO.  

It should be noted that 2 out of 3 adults and 1 in 4 children are not a healthy weight.

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Posted: 11/03/2016 13:36:44 by Aileen McGloin
Filed under: Chocolate, Easter


About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.