MSNBC is reporting that breakfast foods giant Kellogg’s has agreed to increase the nutritional value of their cereals and snacks.
The Battle Creek, Mich., cereal maker avoided a lawsuit threatened by parents and nutrition advocacy groups worried about increasing child obesity. Its decision is to be formally announced here Thursday.
The company said that it won’t promote foods in TV, radio, print or Web site ads that reach audiences at least half of whom are under age 12 unless a single serving of the product meets these standards:
- No more than 200 calories.
- No trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat.
- No more than 230 milligrams of sodium, except for Eggo frozen waffles.
- No more than 12 grams of sugar, not counting sugar from fruit, dairy and vegetables.
Kellogg said it would reformulate products to meet these criteria or stop marketing them to children under 12 by the end of 2008.
With 2006 sales of almost $11 billion, Kellogg is the world’s leading cereal-maker and a leading producer of snack foods. Its brands include Kellogg’s, Keebler, Pop-Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, Rice Krispies and Famous Amos.
Kellogg also announced that it will continue to refrain from advertising to children under age 6, and will not in the future:
- Advertise to children any foods in schools and preschools that include kids under age 12.
- Sponsor placement of any of its products in any medium primarily directed at kids under age 12.
- Use branded toys connected to any foods that do not meet the nutrition standards.
- Use licensed characters on mass-media ads directed primarily to kids under 12 or on the front labels of food packages unless they meet the standards.
The advertising agreement does not apply to marketing characters Kellogg owns, like Tony the Tiger, but it does apply to characters the food company licenses, like the cartoon figure Shrek, said Susan Linn, co-founder of the Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood.
It is good that they have agreed to increase the nutritional value, but it’s unfortunate that for the last 20 or 30 years kids have been targeted with ‘gimmicky’ Ad campaigns directed to sell foods that diminish their health.
If you go through the list of foods that they produce you would be hard pressed to find something that doesn’t contribute to the obesity problem currently exploding across the world….marketed with Shrek’s Green head.