Kellogg Makes Progress On Nutrition Initiatives

June 30, 2008
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BATTLE CREEK — Kellogg Co. has made headway on the promise it made a year ago to adopt nutrition standards for the cereal, cookie, cracker, toaster pastry and snack products it markets to children under the age of 12.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood threatened last year to bring a lawsuit over Kellogg's marketing practices in respect to children. Kellogg agreed to make some changes and worked with outside experts on an in-depth evaluation of nutrition science.

The company developed the "Kellogg Global Nutrient Criteria" and applied it to products across all categories around the world that are marketed to children. The criteria set an upper threshold per serving of: zero grams trans fat and not more than 2 grams of saturated fat; no more than 12 grams of sugar and 200 calories; and no more than 230 milligrams of sodium. The criteria are based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, the standard used by the Food and Drug Administration.

Additionally, licensed characters such as Tucan Sam and branded toys will be eliminated from advertising campaigns for products that don't pass nutritional muster. Kellogg has vowed that by the end of 2008, all of its products marketed to children that don't meet the criteria will be either reformulated or no longer marketed to the under age 12 group.

Last year at this time, only about 50 percent of the Kellogg products marketed to children under 12 would have met the nutrient criteria the company has in place today. Cereals such as Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies and Apple Jacks, for instance, have since been reformulated to reduce sugar content and bring them in line with the new nutritional guidelines, according to the company.

"There will not be any messaging on the packages to alert consumers that the product has been reformulated; however, consumers will be able to identify nutritional changes on the nutrition facts panel, as well as on front-of-pack nutrition labeling," said Kellogg spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz.

Last fall, Kellogg began adding nutrition information called "Guideline Daily Amounts" to the front of its ready-to-eat cereal packages in the United States, Canada and Mexico to give consumers a quick snapshot of how a food fits into their daily diet, Norwitz explained. She said the nutrition summary on the front is intended to complement the nutrition information on the side panel.

"We're proud of our pioneering role in launching GDAs in Europe, Australia and many other markets around the world," said Dr. Celeste Clark, Kellogg's senior vice president of global nutrition and corporate affairs. "We continue to support the adoption of GDAs as well as participate in ongoing dialogue with industry and stakeholders on uniformity in labeling."

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that by committing to nutrition standards and marketing reforms, Kellogg has "vaulted over the rest of the food industry."

"As a practical matter, this commitment means that parents will find it a little easier to steer their children toward healthy food choices — especially if other food manufacturers and broadcasters follow Kellogg's lead," Jacobson stated.

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