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The leading American food and beverage companies have exceeded their goal of reducing 1.5 trillion calories in the U.S. marketplace, according to a progress report from the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF).
The goal was reached three years into a 2010 pledge by the HWCF and its 16 food and beverage corporate partners, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the foundation created to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let's Move!” campaign, to trim 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.
“Our industry has an important role to play in helping people lead healthy lives and our actions are having a positive impact,” said Indra Nooyi, HWCF chair and chairman and CEO of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo. “We see continued opportunities to give consumers the choices they’re looking for and to work collaboratively with the public and nonprofit sectors on initiatives that enable continued progress.”
The progress report noted that HWCF calorie reduction in the marketplace since the CEO-led organization’s baseline year of 2007 was achieved by introducing additional choices that satisfy consumers’ need for good-tasting products.
“[W]e are seeing an example of what can happen when the public and private sectors join forces -- you get results,” said former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) senior fellow Dan Glickman. “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.”
HWCF has also reported annually to the PHA on the progress made toward calorie reduction. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of Americans, is supporting a rigorous, independent evaluation to determine whether HWCF has met its calorie-reduction goal. That evaluation will be released in the fall. Additionally, follow-up studies backed by RWJF will evaluate subsequent effects on children’s diets.
The progress report “offers further indication that consumer demand is shifting toward healthier choices,” noted PHA president and CEO Larry Soler. “HWCF was one of the first organizations to sign on with PHA, which is committed to working with the private sector to help end the childhood obesity crisis within a generation. Our partners know that a commitment made is a commitment kept -- it’s part of what makes them leaders and worthy of praise. So while HWCF’s numbers look positive, we look forward to the findings of the independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is available in the fall.”
Besides PepsiCo, HWCF’s participating companies are Bumble Bee Foods, Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods, Mars Inc., McCormick & Co., Nestlé USA, Post Foods/Ralston Foods, Sara Lee Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Hershey Co., J.M. Smucker Co. and Unilever.