Originally created 06/03/04

Kraft backs off plan to reduce portion sizes



NORTHFIELD, Ill. -- Kraft Foods Inc. has abandoned its plan to reduce some portion sizes, citing consumer research that shows shoppers prefer to have the choice of whether to go with smaller packages.

The nation's largest food company disclosed the decision in a progress report on the anti-obesity initiatives it announced last July. With the food industry facing growing consumer health concerns and the risk of obesity lawsuits, Kraft had pledged to change some product recipes, reduce portions in some single-serve packages, quit marketing snacks via giveaways at school and encourage healthier lifestyles.

"After conducting consumer research and gathering other stakeholder input, Kraft plans to implement a new, two-fold approach to smaller packages, rather than its previously announced plan to cap the portion size of single-serve packages," the company said in Tuesday's announcement.

Kraft said it would offer a broad range of portion-size choices, including snacks in small packages such as its new Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs. It also said it will give nutrition information for entire packages, rather than just for individual portions, "so consumers don't have to do the math themselves."

That move, Kraft said, should support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent call for food companies to enhance labeling on packages in a way that helps consumers make informed choices.

The company also said it has reduced the fat content and made other changes to about 200 products it sells in North America. That accounts for about 5 percent of its products, and Kraft called it "just a beginning."

"Our ongoing actions are part of a broader societal response to growing health and wellness concerns, including obesity," CEO Roger Deromedi said. "It's going to take a comprehensive approach that involves many sectors of society to truly accelerate the change that's needed. We're ready, as are many other food companies, to collaborate and cooperate with governments, policy experts, industries and communities around the world."

On the Net:

www.kraft.com