Study Reveals 16 Companies Surpass Their 2010 Pledge To Reduce Calories In Food and Drinks


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A new study reveals that many of the nation’s biggest food companies have reduced the calories in their products by over 6 trillion.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study revealed that between 2007 and 2012, these companies decreased the calories by about 78 calories per day per person. This total is actually more than the four times the companies had vowed to cut by 2015.

If you think about it, 78 calories is one medium apple or an average cookie. The federal government stipulates that the average daily diet takes in about 2,000 calories. The study reveals that 78 calories were cut out on average per day for the whole U.S. population.

16 companies took the 2010 pledge – Campbell Soup Co., General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co., ConAgra Foods Inc., Hershey Co., Coca-Cola Co., PepsoCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. – to reduce 1 to 1.5 trillion calories by the year 2015.

How Researchers Ensured Companies Stuck To 2010 Pledge

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation got involved, ensuring the companies would stick to their pledge. The group then hired researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to count all the calories in nearly all single packaged items in grocery stores.

In order for this to be done, researchers made use of the store-based scanner information of the different foods, nutritional facts panels and commercial databases to determine how many calories companies were actually selling.  The whole study has yet to be released but have noted the companies involved had surpassed their set goals by a large margin.

Dr. James Marks, Health Group director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said he and the others are very happy by the outcome the companies have set forth. However, he noted, companies must continue their decrease as they said they would do and hopefully other food companies will begin to follow their example.

The foundation is a non-partisan research and philanthropic association set up to help the nation improve its health.

While the companies who made the pledge are familiar food companies, only a third of the packaged foods and drinks were sold at the start of the study.  The ones missing include off-label brands that retailers sell under their name. It’s not known if these products have made any changes.

How Companies Have Reduced Calories In Foods and Drinks

The study does not make clear how the decrease in calories actually corresponds to consumers’ diets. When the 2010 pledge was made, the companies said one option to reduce calories of their foods was to alter the portion sizes; an idea that could sway consumers to consume less food.

The companies also stipulated that would come up with new low-calorie options and alter established products to ensure they had fewer calories.

Consumers can see this effort in grocery stores. Many low-calorie products are baked and not friend and are sold in smaller and larger versions.

Marks said companies’ efforts to make smaller servings – 100 calorie packages of the popular snacks and small cans of sugary drinks – have helped in the decrease of calories. He said the public’s willingness to purchase healthy foods was most likely the contributor to the change with companies answering them.

Lisa Gable with Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation said the findings of the study surpassed what they expected. She said the companies attained their goal by working together and competing to create low-calorie foods. Gable said market studies reveal that the healthy food options are outdoing the other products on the market.

She said there has been a tremendous swing in the market.

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Posted by on Jan 9 2014. Filed under Business, Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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