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Companies Lighten Up Packaged Foods [AUDIO]

A pledge by 16 major food and beverage companies has resulted in 6.4 trillion fewer calories being sold in the United States between 2012 and 2013.

Campbell's Soup products
Campbell’s Soup products (David McNew/Getty Images)

The companies, which include Coca-Cola, Nestle and Campbell’s, acted together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, pledging to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2015. To date, they have exceeded that goal by 400 percent.

The change amounts to 78 less calories a day for the average consumer.

“Some changed portion sizes, some changed the packaging, so it held fewer calories in the packaging,” said Dwayne Proctor, director of the child obesity program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which studied and evaluated the pledge by the companies. “Some actually removed calories from the food they produced.”

In 2007, the 16 companies produced 36 percent of the calories from all packaged foods and beverages — items such as cereals, snacks, canned soups, and bottled beverages — sold in the United States.

While reducing calories won’t solve the problems of America’s obesity epidemic, Proctor said it allows consumers to make smarter options.

“This reduction is not everything that needs to happen,” Proctor said. “Physical activity needs to be done to burn off the calories consumed, and people need to think more about eating fruits and vegetables.”

The pledge was part of an agreement between HWCF and the Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the goals of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative by working with the private sector to end childhood obesity.

The sixteen companies involved include:

  • Bumble Bee Foods, LLC
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • ConAgra Foods (includes Ralston Foods)
  • General Mills, Inc.
  • Hillshire Brands (previously Sara Lee Corporation)
  • Kellogg Company
  • Kraft Foods Group/Mondelez
  • Mars Incorporated
  • McCormick & Company Inc.
  • Nestlé USA
  • PepsiCo Inc.
  • Post Foods
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Hershey Company
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Unilever

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