Beverage Industry

Beverage and food manufacturers pledge to reduce calories

May 18, 2010

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) joined First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America in announcing its new pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015, a decrease HWCF member companies intend to sustain in subsequent years.

HWCF consists of more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-government organizations, including The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Kellogg Co., Nestle USA, The J.M. Smucker Co. and Unilever.

HWCF manufacturing companies will pursue their calorie reduction goal by developing and introducing lower-calorie options, changing recipes where possible to lower the calorie content of current products, or reducing portion sizes of existing single-serve products. These calorie reductions are in comparison with what was available in the marketplace in 2008.

The Partnership for a Healthier America, for which the First Lady serves as honorary chair, is an independent, non-partisan organization that is working to mobilize action around the specific goals of the “Let's Move!” campaign to curb child obesity within a generation. 

"The First Lady has shown tremendous leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity," said David Mackay, chair of the HWCF and chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., in a statement. "Through this effort, the companies that make up the HWCF will provide consumers with additional healthier food options that help them achieve and maintain a healthy diet."

The HWCF aims to promote ways to help Americans achieve healthy weight by balancing the energy (calories) they consume with the energy they expend through physical activity, it said. As part of their effort to make healthier food available to Americans, HWCF members continue to take other steps to enhance the products in their portfolios, including adding fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and increasing the number of great-tasting, convenient and healthier options in the food supply, HWCF said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the HWCF will report annually to the Partnership for a Healthier America on the progress that it is making toward the pledge. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, also will support a rigorous, independent evaluation of how the HWCF's efforts to reduce calories in the marketplace affect calories consumed by children and adolescents. The organization will report its findings.