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Kellogg Strengthens Marketing Practices to Children

Social responsibility and transparency actions taken by Kellogg, childrens' food producer

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green agriculture crops food Following pressure from children's advocates and industry trends, Kellogg Company is undertaking two major initiatives that strengthen its commitment to meeting consumers' health and nutrition needs by adjusting what and how the company markets to children and through new front- of-pack nutrition labeling.

The largest food producer is advocating that standard labeling practices be adopted by the food industry, along with children's food and nutrition marketing standards. This could have an impact on California agriculture and food industry companies. The social move toward more transparency is more than an annual environmental report -- it also includes getting all relevant information to consumers.

Shifting the Mix of Products Marketed to Children Under 12

Kellogg will change what and how it markets to children under 12 using nutrition criteria. The company will use its new internal standard, the Kellogg Global Nutrient Criteria (Nutrient Criteria), to determine which products will be marketed to children on TV, print, radio and Internet as well as how those products are marketed, including use of licensed properties, Web site activities directed to children, promotions/premiums, product placement and in-school marketing. Kellogg will continue its practice of not advertising to children under 6.

The Nutrient Criteria set an upper threshold per serving of less than or equal to 200 calories, less than or equal to 2 grams of saturated fat, labeled 0 grams of trans fat, less than or equal to 230 milligrams of sodium and labeled 12 grams of sugar.

"The nutrient criteria Kellogg has adopted are based on a broad review of scientific reports and experts," said James Hill, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and former member of the National Institutes of Health Taskforce on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. "I applaud the transparency Kellogg has demonstrated in their approach and believe the changes they are making represent meaningful progress and are a good first step."

Kellogg will apply the Nutrient Criteria to all of its products marketed to children under age 12 around the world. Those products that don't meet the Criteria (almost 50 percent of Kellogg products currently marketed to children worldwide) will either be reformulated to meet the Nutrient Criteria or they will no longer be marketed to children under 12 by the end of 2008.

The Nutrient Criteria will also guide targeted future innovation and product development.

"Today, 27 percent of Kellogg advertising spending in the U.S. is directed to children under 12 and we've always approached that communication responsibly," said Mackay. "We're taking these steps to address increasing concerns about marketing to children and further strengthen our commitment to responsible marketing. In addition, we plan to increasingly emphasize products with enhanced nutritional value as well as continuing to find ways to emphasize nutrition and healthy lifestyles in our marketing to children."

Wherever possible, implementation of Kellogg commitments will begin immediately. For example,

  • Certain brands will feature better-for-you options in their advertisements.
  • Content enhancements to our child- directed Web sites, including adding automatic screen time limits and healthy lifestyle and nutrition messaging,
  • Limiting depictions of foods that don't meet Nutrient Criteria in interactive activities like games, downloads and wallpaper.
  • Subject to existing contracts, they also will not be using licensed characters as food forms, on front of pack or in advertisements unless that food meets the Nutrient Criteria.

    Full implementation of all commitments will be completed by the end of 2008.

    Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling

    Additionally beginning later this year, consumers will see Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) on the front of ready-to-eat cereal packages in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the U.S., new packaging will feature an easy-to- use labeling system on the top, right-hand corner of cereal boxes, identifying percentages of calories, total fat, sodium and grams of sugar per serving.

    As a company, Kellogg is responsive to meeting the nutrient needs in the countries where it operates. As such, the front-of-pack labels will also identify the nutrients American consumers need to consume more of including fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. The percentages are based on a typical 2,000 calorie daily diet.

    The front-of-pack summary gives a quick snapshot of how a food fits into a consumer's daily diet and complements the nutrition label found on the side panel. Kellogg first pioneered the use of GDAs in Europe and Australia, where the labeling approach has been well-received and adopted by the industry. Kellogg is also encouraging other food and beverage companies to join the initiative in the U.S., and is in ongoing dialogue with industry on uniformity in labeling.

    For more information, visit the company's Web site at

    Edited by Carolyn Allen
    | food | nutrition | Social Responsibility |


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