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Nestlé Box Tops for Education

Updated: 21 June 2007

As an incentive for a school to promote Nestlé's cereals to children, Nestlé offers the school cash for every box top it collects as a proof of purchase. As well as trying to increase sales, Nestlé is attempting to undermine support for the boycott and present itself as a caring company.

But if Nestlé really did care for children, it would stop its aggressive marketing of baby foods. And it would stop promoting unhealthy cereals to children.

Nestlé makes much of its Shredded Wheat product, even advertising it saying: "You'd never add salt. Neither would we."

Yet according to The Food Commission Nestlé's other cereals have high levels of added salt (including Golden Nuggets, Clusters, Shreddies, Cookie Crisp, Cinnamon Grahams, Cheerios, Monsters inc and Golden Grahams). Nestlé has also been criticised over the high sugar content.

See The Parents' Jury website to support the campaign for legislation to stop companies promoting unhealthy food to children.

After objections from students and parents, many schools have refused to promote Nestlé cereals, even writing to all parents explaining why, so helping to publicise the boycott.

Schools which have decided not to support the box top scheme following objections include:

  • Bottisham Community Primary School, Cambridgeshire
  • Carlton Coleville, Norfolk
  • Castle Cary Primary School, Somerset
  • Coombe Hill School, New Malden
  • Gisleham Middle School
  • Hamilton Primary School, High Wycombe
  • Holt House Primary School, Sheffield
  • Layton First School, Hertfordshire
  • Llanidloes Community Primary School/Ysgol Gynradd Llanidloes
  • Mawdesley C of E School, Lancashire
  • Passmores School & Technology College, Harlow
  • Priorsford Primary School, Peebles
  • St Cuthbert's RC Primary School, Co Durham
  • Sir Robert Hitcham's VA Primary School, Woodbridge

This is not a full list. If your school has decided to have nothing to do with the box-top scheme and you would like it added to this list please contact us.

A suggested letter to send to the Head Teacher if you wish to protest about involvement in the box top scheme is given below, with some links to news reports about the unhealthy nature of Nestlé's cereals. You can download leaflets about the boycott to include with your letter.

If you prefer a campaign pack with paper copies of useful articles and some leaflets, see our on-line Virtual Shop.

Some parents are using imaginative ways to replace any money that would have been generated by the box tops scheme. For example, sending non-Nestlé box tops to the school with the money saved. Alternatives cereals are often cheaper and many have lower added salt and sugar (though first check the boycott products page to see which supermarket brands are made by Nestlé).

Nestlé's generosity amounts to a penny per serving (much less than this in practice as many box tops will not be redeemed), so you could put by a penny each breakfast to send to the school, whether it is cereal or something healthier.

Click here to download the suggested letter as a Word file or cut and paste the text from below.


Nestlé box-top scheme

I wish to register my opposition to the Nestlé box-top scheme.

I support the Nestlé boycott and I do not wish my child to be encouraged to ask for Nestlé products. Nestlé is the target of a boycott in 20 countries because of its unethical and irresponsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):

"Marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute."

Monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), published as the reports Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules, shows Nestlé to be responsible for more violations of the marketing requirements than any other company. Nestlé is excluded from the relevant ethical investment lists produced by FTSE4Good because of these activities, which contribute to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants.

Instead of making the required changes to its marketing policies and practices, Nestlé embarks on public relations exercises, attempting to improve its image. The box-top scheme fits this pattern.

The unhealthy nature of Nestlé cereals is also a concern. Nestlé makes much of its Shredded Wheat, even advertising it claiming "You’d never add salt. Neither would we." But most Nestlé’s cereals do have high levels of added salt, according to Food Standards Agency definitions. The sugar content has also been criticised. It is not appropriate on health grounds for the school to encourage children to consume these products by promoting the box-top scheme.

The enclosed information explains more. I hope the school will have nothing to do with the scheme and will explain to students and parents why not.

Yours sincerely,


The kid's aren't alright - The Guardian 11 November 2003