Everybody knows by now that a lot of Americans struggle to shed the extra pounds. And with data about the ill effect of such ingredients as trans fats, food companies have recognized the possible PR disaster they might have on their hands. With that in mind, Kraft
Kraft, which has been talking healthy for quite some time now, said that it has reformulated 650 of its products to either lower or completely remove trans fats, which have been shown to increase people's levels of "bad" cholesterol. The company also said that its removal of the trans fats did not increase levels of saturated fats, another health baddie.
This is good news for Kraft, given that obesity has been determined to be such a serious health problem in the United States. As people become increasingly mindful of weight issues, Kraft could have suffered a crisis if its products were deemed unhealthy. And, of course, there's always the public-relations element of having the health police point fingers at certain food manufacturers for having products that put the "fat" into "fun."
After all, Kraft is the maker of many popular snacks, many of which are greatly associated with kids' snack favorites -- Oscar Mayer, Oreos, Lunchables, Nutter Butters, Ritz crackers, Velveeta cheese ... the list goes on and on. It seems obvious, and wise, that Kraft would reformulate a great deal of its products so that their labels wouldn't put off more discerning parents at the grocery store. The company said this move required "more than 100,000 people-hours," and it's the kind of hard-work initiative that investors should applaud.
Of course, Kraft's not the only food purveyor to take this step -- although it's arguable that it's ahead of the game by finishing up now. My Foolish colleague Brian Gorman recently reported that Kellogg
Kraft touted that this was a voluntary move on its part, although in truth, the Food and Drug Administration did have a Jan. 1 deadline for requiring that companies disclose trans-fat content on their packaging. Kraft boasted that it took the extra step of reducing or eliminating the substance, while making sure its products retained their "great taste."
It seems to me that this is a tasteful move as far as investors are concerned, too. Although products like Oreos will never exactly be considered "healthy" like a salad, banishing trans fats still makes for a healthier package.
Here's some more recent Foolish coverage on Kraft:
- Kellogg is also gearing up for a trans-fat tradeoff.
- Kraft's last quarter gave some food for thought.
- Last year this time, there was lots of talk about Kraft's diet plans.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.