Food, beverage companies remove 1.5 trillion calories from shelves
By Jay Keller
Top food and beverage companies have exceeded the goal of reducing in the marketplace 1.5 trillion calories in products sold throughout the U.S., according to a one-of-its-kind coalition of retailers dedicated to reducing childhood obesity.
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), and its 16 corporate partners, joined efforts led by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America in 2010 to help reduce obesity – and to meet consumer demand for healthier products.
“We continue to thank the First Lady for her leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity,” HWCF President Lisa Gable told reporters. “In 2010 we pledged that we would reduce calories in the marketplace and we have delivered on that promise.”
Corporate retailers affiliated with the HWCF include 16 major manufacturers of snacks, soft drinks, condiments, prepared meals and sweets sold either in grocery stores or as concessions.
PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi sits as HWCF Chair and recognizes that the food and beverage industry can play an important role in helping people live healthier lives when retailers take action.
“We see continued opportunities to give consumers the choices they’re looking for and to work collaboratively with the public and non-profit sectors on initiatives that enable continued progress,” Nooyi said.
It was HWCF research which initially proved to the food and beverage industry that a calorie-reduction campaign is also good business.
In the foundation-funded study of consumer demand, lower-calorie products drove 82 percent of sales growth among member companies worth $1.25 billion in 2007-2011. Higher-calorie products accounted for less than $300 million during the same period.
Dan Glickman, senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, praised the joining of forces between the private and public sector to combat obesity, saying that the results have really made a difference.
“The leading food and beverage companies in the country came together to form this first-of-its kind foundation because they knew they could make a difference, and they have,” Glickman said in a statement.
Participating with the HWCF are these companies, listed alphabetically: Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Inc., Mars, Incorporated, McCormick & Company, Inc., Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Post Foods/Ralston Foods, Sara Lee Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, The J.M. Smucker Company and Unilever.