ella's kitchen banana baby rice

The survey found Ella’s Kitchen’s Banana, Apple & Blueberry Baby Rice contained 14.5g sugar

Babyfood brands are adding “worrying levels of sugars” to breakfast foods intended for infants and toddlers, research by Action on Sugar has revealed.

Some contained the equivalent of four teaspoons of sugar, the charity reported, after surveying nearly 100 breakfast items in stores.

The worst offender in the survey was Ella’s Kitchen’s Banana, Apple & Blueberry Baby Rice, which contains 14.5g sugar per serving. A spokeswoman for the brand said it took “sugar reduction very seriously”.

“We constantly reformulate our products … and we have also introduced lower-sugar products to reduce the average sugar content of our range.

“While the sugars in fruit purée are classed as free sugars, it is necessary to offer a smooth texture for babies at the start of their weaning journey for safety reasons, to avoid choking.”

The research also found Heinz By Nature Creamed Porridge uses plain sugar, and its packs feature the claim ‘sugar from a natural source’, which Action on Sugar said was not listed as a legally permitted nutritional claim.

A Heinz spokesman said the tagline was “a statement of fact” and not a nutrition claim. “We have a long-standing commitment to improve the nutrition of our products. One of these priorities includes reducing sugar across all our product categories globally.”

According to Action on Sugar nutritionist Zoe Davies, there was “an overwhelming number of products that taste too sweet and contain too much sugar”.

“Parents put their trust in these companies to produce healthy age-appropriate meals for their babies but are misled by clever marketing and misleading claims,” she said.

It comes as the World Health Organisation Europe is set to publish its finalised nutrient and promotion profile model for baby and toddler foods this year.

Read more: Babyfood aisles won’t be safe for children until sugar levels are cut