The Skinny on Kraft’s Obesity Initiative

Jul 02, 2003

By George Anderson

Kraft Foods announced yesterday it is taking steps to address obesity in the
US and abroad.

Betsy Holden, co-chief executive officer, Kraft Foods said in a released statement,
“The rise in obesity is a complex public health challenge of global proportions.
Just as obesity has many causes, it can be solved only if all sectors of society
do their part to help. Kraft is committed to product choices and marketing practices
that will help encourage healthy lifestyles and make it easier to eat and live

Roger Deromedi, Kraft Foods’ other co-ceo added, “What people eat is ultimately
a matter of personal choice, but we can help make it an educated choice. And
helping them get more active is every bit as important as helping them eat better.
By providing people with products and information they can use to improve their
eating and activity behaviors, we can do our part to help arrest the rise in

Kraft’s initiatives will eventually include:

  • A cap on the portion size of single-serve packages

  • Guidelines for the nutritional characteristics of all products

  • A planned effort to improve existing products and provide alternative choices,
    where appropriate

  • The elimination of all in-school marketing

  • Guidelines for all advertising and marketing practices, including advertising
    and marketing to children, to encourage appropriate eating behaviors and active

  • Nutrition labeling in all markets worldwide, including markets where labeling
    is not required

  • Added nutrition and/or activity-related information on product labels and
    company websites to assist consumer choices

  • Guidelines for the use of health-related claims in all markets worldwide,
    including markets where no restrictions exist.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Kraft
Foods’ planned initiatives to combat obesity?

Because Kraft Foods manufactures snack foods and others
products consumed by children, we expect critics of the company and so-called
consumer advocates to ridicule this action as a simple publicity stunt.

While there’s no arguing this action is a smart public
relations move, we see it as much more than that. Kraft’s initiatives are the
right thing to do on numerous levels.

First, it is a practical response to a health issue that
medical professionals tell us is reaching epidemic levels.

Secondly, it is a preemptive action to ward off the numerous
trial lawyers searching for the next company to target for a class action suit.

Kraft Foods and other manufacturers seeking to deal with
obesity, regardless of motive, deserve the support and encouragement of the
industry and consumers. It has ours.
Anderson – Moderator

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