This comes on the heels of Kraft's gaining a "South Beach Diet" seal of approval on some of its foods. Another processed foods giant, General Mills
The Food and Drug Administration is seriously interested in regulating the ways that companies disclose their nutrition facts. So, this is not only a preemptive move to avoid regulation but also an answer to strong public opinion on the issue of obesity. A particular source of concern is the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. Kids are of course a great target for Kraft, which offers products such as Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butters, Better Cheddars, Teddy Grahams, DooDads... well, you get the picture.
The first Kraft products to carry the new nutrition labels will include Ritz Chips and Planters Big Bags, Nabisco products in Go-Paks!, and ready-to-drink beverages such as Capri Sun Refreshers.
At issue in particular are those "serving sizes" that appear on nutrition labels. Many of us know that the serving sizes cited are often ridiculously small and by no means cover the calorie, fat, and nutrient content of what a person with a real appetite would actually consume. Smaller packages, where a consumer might eat the whole thing, have been in the FDA's sights in particular, and this is one issue Kraft is going to address.
Kraft's move to make the changes before the FDA makes them law looks good from a PR standpoint, of course, although some of us been leery for years of nutrition labels where the "serving size" described on a bag of potato chips is 2.5 chips or some similar nonsense. It's about time serving sizes -- and corresponding nutrition facts -- began to more closely reflect reality.
Such changes from food manufacturers -- and yes, preferably on a voluntary basis -- should secure more good will from the public. Whether clearer nutrition labeling will stunt the growth of snack sales as consumers strive to be healthier remains to be seen.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.