Food and beverage companies agree to new marketing standards for children

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. 


WASHINGTON, July 13 - Seventeen of the nation's food and beverage companies say they will voluntarily follow uniform standards and cut back on marketing hundreds of unhealthy products to kids. Approximately one in three products currently advertised to kids do not meet the new nutrition criteria, according to The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a program of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which coordinated the effort.

 Participants include: Burger King Corp.; Cadbury Adams USA LLC; Campbell Soup Company; The Coca-Cola Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; The Dannon Company; General Mills, Inc.; The Hershey Company; Kellogg Company; Kraft Foods Global, Inc.; Mars, Incorporated; McDonald's USA, LLC; Nestlé USA; PepsiCo, Inc.; Post Foods, LLC; Sara Lee Corporation and Unilever United States.

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 The new industry standards are designed to replace stricter guidelines proposed by the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year that have largely been rejected by the companies. The new uniform nutrition criteria will require many companies to change the recipes of these products or they will not be able to advertise them after December 31, 2013.

 “These uniform nutrition criteria represent another huge step forward, further strengthening voluntary efforts to improve child-directed advertising. Now foods from different companies, such as cereals or canned pastas, will meet the same nutrition criteria, rather than similar but slightly different company-specific criteria. The new criteria are comprehensive, establishing limits for calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and total sugars as well as requirements for nutrition components to encourage,” said Elaine Kolish, Vice President and Director of the CFBAI.

 The agreement impacts 10 product categories, each with its own set of criteria. For example:

·         Juices. For juices, no added sugars are permitted, and the serving must contain no more than 160 calories.


·         Dairy. This category includes products such as milk and yogurt. For ready to drink flavored milk, an 8 fluid ounce portion is limited to 24 grams (g) of total sugars. For yogurt products, a 6 ounce portion is limited to 170 calories and 23 grams of total sugars. These sugars criteria include both naturally-occurring and sugars added for flavoring.


·         Grains, fruits and vegetable products (and items not in other categories). This category includes products such as cereals, crackers and cereal bars. Foods with ≤ 150 calories, such as most children's breakfast cereals, must contain no more than 1.5 g of saturated fat, 290 milligrams (mg) of sodium and 10 g of sugar (products with > 150−200 calories get proportionately higher limits). Foods in this category also must provide ≥ ½ serving of foods to encourage (fruits, vegetables, non- or low-fat dairy, and whole grains) or ≥ 10% of the Daily Value of an essential nutrient.


·         Seeds, nuts, nut butters and spreads. Foods in this category, which includes peanut butters, must have no more than 220 calories, 3.5 g of saturated fat, 240 mg of sodium and 4 g of sugar per 2 tablespoons. Foods in this category also must provide at least one ounce of protein equivalent.


·         Main dishes and entrees. Foods in this category, such as canned pastas, must have no more than 350 calories, 10 percent calories from saturated fat, 600 mg of sodium and 15 g of sugar per serving. Foods in this category also must provide either ≥ 1 serving of foods to encourage or ≥ ½ serving of foods to encourage and ≥ 10% of the Daily Value of two essential nutrients.

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