Following the First Lady's lead...
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and asked for major food corporations to join her campaign against child obesity. One of her suggestions: Food makers should reduce salt, fat and sugar in their offerings, especially those intended for kids. Today, GMA member Kraft Foods announced plans to reduce sodium by between 10 and 20 percent, depending on the product, across its North American portfolio over the next two years.
Even a nominal amount of excess dietary sodium has been shown to have a major impact on diet-related diseases. A recent study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Stanford University and Columbia University shows that as little as a 3 gram per day decrease in daily salt intake can greatly reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. And the impact is even greater for African Americans, who are at higher risk for these illnesses.
Kraft brands include Oscar Meyer, Ritz, Stovetop, Knudsen, General Foods, Wheat Thins, Cadbury, Oreos, Triscuit, Nabisco, Miracle Whip, and of course the kid fave, "Easy Mac," its macaroni and cheese offering.
"We are reducing sodium because it's good for consumers, and, if done properly, it's good for business," said Rhonda Jordan, President, Health & Wellness, in a statement. "A growing number of consumers are concerned about their sodium intake and we want to help them translate their intentions into actions."
Mrs. Obama pointed out during her remarks on Tuesday that offering healthy options to consumers is an economically savvy move.
From the corporate presser: The company's goals call for sodium to be lowered in a number of products up to 20 percent by the end of 2012. For example, Oscar Mayer Bologna is slated to reduce sodium by 17 percent and some flavors of Easy Mac Cups are scheduled to reduce sodium by 20 percent.
Kraft will have you know that it has already aggressively reduced salt in some products in the last few years, but clearly they've heeded the First Lady's call to action.