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NORTHFIELD, IL. -- Kraft Foods has embarked on a new initiative to increase the visibility among both adults and children of many of the more nutritious products in the company's portfolio. Using nutrition criteria derived from the newly-released 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, as well as authoritative statements from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, National Academy of Sciences and other public health authorities, Kraft will:
-- Introduce a Sensible Solution labeling program in the United States, featuring a prominent on-pack "flag" for food and beverage products that meet specific, "better-for-you" nutrition criteria that Kraft has established for each category of products.
-- Shift the mix of products it advertises in television, radio and print media viewed primarily by children ages 6-11, such as many popular cartoon programs, toward products that qualify for the flag, and phase out advertising in these media for products that don't. The company says that over the course of 2005, a number of well-known Kraft products -- including regular Kool-Aid beverages, Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies, several Post children's cereals, and many varieties of Lunchables lunch combinations -- will no longer be advertised in these media.
Kraft will continue its existing policy of not advertising in media with a principal audience under age six.
"We're working on ways to encourage both adults and children to eat wisely by selecting more nutritionally balanced diets," said Lance Friedmann, Kraft's s.v.p., global health & wellness. "We believe that these initiatives are a step in the right direction."
The Sensible Solution flag, which will help consumers more easily identify Kraft's "better-for-you" choices within a food or beverage category, will begin to appear on qualifying products in April.
Among the U.S. products that will carry the flag are: Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat cheese, Post Shredded Wheat cereal, Minute Rice Instant whole grain brown rice, Triscuit Original baked whole grain wheat crackers and Crystal Light beverages. Plans are under development for similar programs in other countries, based on regulatory requirements and other local considerations.
The company's new initiative will have the largest impact on its advertising in North America; in other countries, the company's advertising in media specifically directed to children ages 6-11 is minimal.
Kraft’s effort received kudos from several organizations, among which is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group that focuses on nutrition and food safety.
Said Margo Wootan, CSPI nutrition policy director, "Kraft is doing parents a real favor by recognizing that foods of poor nutritional quality should not be advertised to kids. By setting nutrition standards for foods advertised to six- to 11-year-olds, Kraft will make it a little easier to reduce kids' consumption of foods high in calories, saturated and trans fat, or added sugars."
Wootan added that she hopes, "other companies--like Kellogg, General Mills, and McDonald's--will emulate, and out-do, Kraft," while also calling for on the government to step in and sponsor major healthy-eating campaigns and strengthened nutrition education in schools.