Leading branded food manufacturer Kraft Foods confirmed its commitment to healthier foods yesterday, outlining a series of steps designed to help reduce rising obesity rates.
The move will see a cap on the portion size of single-serve packages and nutrition labelling in all markets, including where it is not required. There will also be an effort to improve existing products and provide alternative choices where appropriate, said Kraft.
Betsy D. Holden, co-CEO of Kraft Foods, said: "Just as obesity has many causes, it can be solved only if all sectors of society do their part to help."
The company is also forming a council of advisors, made up of experts in obesity, nutrition, public health and nutrient fortification, to help it develop policies and measures for the new strategy, which will be rolled out globally.
The council, to be decided shortly, will determine the levels at which the portion size of its single-serve packages will be capped, develop measures to guide the nutrient characteristics of all products and create a standardised approach for nutrition labelling and the use of health-related claims in countries where such regulations do not exist.
Kraft has also promised to eliminate all in-school marketing and establish guidelines for advertising practices, including advertising and marketing to children, to encourage appropriate eating behaviour. Added nutrition information on product labels and company websites will improve consumer choices, it says.
"What people eat is ultimately a matter of personal choice, but we can help make it an educated choice," said Roger K. Deromedi, co-CEO of Kraft Foods. "By providing people with products and information they can use to improve their eating and activity behaviours, we can do our part to help arrest the rise in obesity."
The company, which markets many of the world's leading food brands, is aiming to finish the new standards by end of 2003, for implementation in 2004. This will probably require two to three years to complete, it said.