Food companies pledge to cut 1.5 trillion calories

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Michelle obama

Sixteen food companies have pledged to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015, as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s stated effort to tackle obesity.

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is made up of about 80 trade organizations, non-governmental organizations, and retailers, as well as 16 food and beverage manufacturers, including the likes of Nestlé, Kraft, Kellogg’s, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, among others. The Foundation was set up last October, saying that it aims to reduce obesity rates in the United States.

On Monday, it said it would introduce measures to help to redress the ‘energy balance’ – calories in versus calories expended – including introducing more lower-calorie options, reformulating existing products where possible to reduce calories, and by reducing portion sizes of single-serve items.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has agreed to act as independent assessor of whether the HWCF achieves its 1.5 trillion-calorie reduction target and has said it will make its findings publicly available.

Executive director of the HWCF Lisa Gable said: "America’s food and beverage companies have a strong track record of innovation and providing consumers with healthier products. With this initiative they are moving farther and faster. The Foundation’s member companies are giving Americans tools to reduce calorie consumption."

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) welcomed the announcement, and also took the opportunity to reiterate that its members have already reformulated thousands of items to contain less sugar, sodium, fats and calories.

GMA’s president and CEO Pamela Bailey said in a statement: “This is a tremendous example of our industry’s commitment to do as First Lady Michelle Obama has challenged us to do – go farther faster.

“America’s food and beverage companies are committed to a genuine partnership with the First Lady to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity within a generation. Everyone has a role to play if we are to win the battle over obesity in this country, including industry. We embrace this responsibility and we promise to continually improve.”

Related topics: Suppliers, The obesity problem

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