Kraft targets kids' advertising as part of health and wellness campaign

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Kraft foods

On the back of growing consumer interest in healthy eating, leading
US food maker Kraft Foods is focusing on its increasingly
successful health and wellness segment, announcing plans to further
limit products advertised to children to healthy options.

The company claims that its health and wellness segment, which includes a range of 'right carb' South Beach Diet products as well as popular low fat multi-grain crackers Wheat Thins, has grown three to four times faster than other segments in the past year. "Our health and wellness program is an important business initiative that we believe is critical to the long-term success of Kraft," said the company's chief executive officer Roger Deromedi in a statement last week. "We're taking steps that are responsive to social concerns, while at the same time driving our business results by transforming our portfolio to better align with consumer trends," he added. The company, which was last week placed on the "Honor Roll" of the state of California's Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity, announced plans to modify product marketing on its websites aimed at children, to include only products that meet its Sensible Solution nutrition standards. Sensible Solution, a labelling programme aimed at helping consumers choose healthier products, already constitutes the backbone of the company's new advertising policy for children, announced in January this year and due to be implemented by the end of 2006. It means that all television, radio, print and internet advertising that children aged between 6-11 are exposed to will be limited to healthy products. It comes at a time when industry concerns on children's advertising are at a high. Kristen Harrison, professor of speech communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for example, recently told FoodNavigator-USA, sister site of BakeryAndSnacks.com, that the problem with TV advertising is that it intentionally blurs distinctions of what is nutritious. "Child television viewers are bombarded with health claims in television advertising," she said. "Given the plentitude of advertisements on television touting the health benefits of even the most nutritionally bankrupt of foods, child viewers are likely to become confused about which foods are in fact healthy." Kraft spokesperson Kris Charles told BakeryAndSnacks.com that the company's modifications to its product marketing are "building on our ongoing commitment to health and wellness." "For several years now we have been changing what we make and how we market it, primarily in response to consumer concerns, but also as an opportunity to help us grow our business," she added. This month will see the launch of a line of healthier counterparts to Kraft's Nabisco products, including 100 per cent wholegrain and trans fat free Wheat Thins and Fig Newtons cookies. Other steps taken by the company include "providing enhanced nutrition and healthy lifestyle information to consumers," and "increasing investments in programs that teach kids how to live healthier lives." External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Kraft Foods

Related topics: Kraft Foods, Health, Ingredients

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