General Mills and Kraft Foods:Continuing to Make America Fat? A glimpse at the true story behind the world’s largest food producers Created by: Dawn Lu Professor Kelly Brownell Yale University Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food April 10, 2013
Background InformationGeneral Mills and Kraft Foods are two of the largest packaged food producers in America (and in the world). Their products have come to play a significant role in the daily diets of consumers across the nation. After undergoing much public scrutiny in the past decade regarding the presence of harmful ingredientsas well as lack of nutrition contentin their products, both companies have made efforts to improve the nutrition profile of their products. Furthermore, in light of being accused of contributing to America’s obesity epidemic, General Mills and Kraft Foods have actively promoted the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and well- balanced diet through various campaigns and sponsorships.
Motivation for the ProjectHOWEVER, IS THIS WIDELY ADVOCATED AWARENESS FOR HEALTHAND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY MERELY A CORPORATE PLOY TOAPPEASE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PUBLIC HEALTH FIGURES?OR HAVE GENERAL MILLS AND KRAFT FOODS MADE VERITABLEPROGRESS AND EFFORTS IN CREATING HEALTHIER PRODUCTSAND ENCOURAGING A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE?This presentation provides ageneral overview of the productdevelopment, health philosophyand promotions, philanthropyefforts, and marketingcampaigns/regulations thatGeneral Mills and Kraft Foodshave undertaken.
OverviewGeneral Mills VS Kraft Foods– Corporate responsibility • Health & Nutrition Philosophy • Promotions and philanthropy– Key food categories and brands • General Mills: Yoplait and cereal • Kraft Foods: Lunchables and snack foods– Nutrition improvement & new products– Summary
General Mills: Overview• Ranked #181 on Fortune 500 Companies• $14 billion in annual revenue• Awarded Americas Most Reputable Company in 2012 by the Reputation Institute• Brand message: “Our mission at General Mills is Nourishing Lives – making lives healthier, easier, and richer.”
General Mills: Key Brands• Yoplait• Pillsbury• Nature Valley• Fiber One• Fruit Roll-Ups• Cheerios• Cinnamon Toast Crunch• Lucky Charms• Betty Crocker• Haagen-Dazs• Hamburger Helper• Green Giant• Progresso
General Mills: Health & Nutrition Philosophy• Emphasis on “great tasting, low calorie options” – Strongly promotes whole grains and the importance of eating a healthy breakfast rich in fiber and protein (such as cereal and yogurt) – Released reports titled “The Benefits of Cereal” and “The Benefits of Yogurt”
General Mills: Health Improvements• Began health efforts in 2005, with largest advancements in 2012 – All Big G cereals contains more whole grain than any other ingredient• CURRENT GOAL: reduce sodium by average of 20% in top 10 U.S. categories• Gradual reduction of sugar content in cereals advertised to children under 12; all kid cereals have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving• Reducing and removing trans fat – BUT some Pillsbury products still have trans fat
General Mills: Health Improvements “Health improvements have increasingly become a primary driver of our innovation, both on existing products and as we develop new products” -Marc Belton, General Mills executive vice president of Global Strategy, Growth and Marketing Innovation
General Mills: Health Improvements• Since 2005, General Mills has improved the health profile of 68% of its U.S. retail sales volume by: Adding: whole grains, fiber, calcium Reducing: calories, sugar, sod ium, trans fat
General Mills: “Stealth Health Approach”• The guiding principle behind General Mills’ nutrition improvements is: “it’s not nutritious unless people eat it”• THE PROBLEM: Consumers are not willing to sacrifice taste and will not purchase healthier products if they do not meet taste standards• THE SOLUTION: Make gradual, incremental nutrition changes to products over time• Two part approach – 1) Improve health profile of existing products – 2) Introduce innovative, new products
General Mills: Yoplait• Yoplait is a brand of sweetened yogurt that creates products mainly catered toward children and health- conscious adults. It has recently released over 40 new items, capitalizing on consumer trends that increasingly emphasize healthy options.
General Mills: Yoplait Product Nutrition Overview250200150100 Calories per 50 serving 0 Sugar (grams) Yoplait Yoplait Yoplait Yoplait Original Light Simplait Greek 100 Protein (grams)Example: Yoplait LightMost common ingredients: cultured pasteurized Grade A nonfatmilk, fruit, modified corn starch, sugar
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements Yoplait kid yogurts Since 2007, General Mills has lowered the average sugar level in Yoplait kid yogurts by 21%
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements Yoplait Go-Gurt 2010 2012 Eliminated high fructose corn syrup
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements Yoplait Pro-Force VS Go-Gurt The Good The Bad• More than 4x’s the • 20% increase in sugar protein of Go-Gurt • 28% increase in calories• No artificial • Modified corn starch colors, flavors, or sweeteners Nutrition comparison: It seems that Pro-Force not only contains more protein, but also slightly more sugar and calories. Overall, however, this new product can be seen as a positive nutritional contribution .
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements Yoplait Pro-Force VS Go-Gurt1009080706050 Calories40 Sugar (grams)30 Protein (grams)2010 0 Yoplait GoGurt Yoplait Pro-Force (new)
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements CEREAL• Nutrition Improvements • 14% average reduction of sugar in kid cereals since 2007 • 10 grams of sugar or less per serving in all kid cereals • WHOLE GRAIN is now the number one most abundant ingredient in all cereals
General Mills: Nutrition Improvements CEREAL• 2012: Cookie Crisp went from 10 grams of sugar to 9 grams of sugar per serving
General Mills: New Products CEREAL 140 Cinnamon Toast 120 Crunch 100 80 60 40 20 0 Calories Sugar (grams)Nutrition comparison: The newest variety of General Mills’ cereal “PeanutButter Toast Crunch” was launched in 2012 and has almost identicalnutrition content as the original “Cinnamon Toast Crunch” variety. If weexpect General Mills to make persistent, continuous health improvementswith each new product, then this new product can be seen as a disappoint.However, it is still commendable that General Mills now holds all theiryouth-targeted cereal products to a uniform standard of sugar and wholegrain. Thus, at least the the healthier options will not be thwarted by theintroduction of new higher-sugar products.
General Mills: New Products• Healthier Options: Fiber One 80 Calories cereal, Yoplait Greek 100• Status Quo: Peanut Butter Toast Crunch, Go- Gurt Twisted, Hello Kitty Fruit Snacks
General Mills: Responsibility“Partnering in the fight against childhood obesity”• In February 2013, the General Mills Foundation committed $10 million to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition in order to help schools across the country implement the program• The goal of the initiative is to foster“lifelong skills and healthy habits”• General Mills states this is “just the latest in our more than 50 year commitment to promote active lifestyles.”• The company wants to be “part of the solution” to America’s childhood obesity crisis• General Mills also supports Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which aims to encourage healthy lifestyle and habits among American children
General Mills: Health Promotions “A Taste of General Mills” – Online Blog• Health & Wellness section • Titles of blog posts include: – “The new love: Fiber One Protein Bars” – “5 tips for a healthier you in 2013” – “Go with the Whole Grains for Kids” – “It’s not nutritious unless people eat it”
General Mills: Health Promotions “Live Better America” website• http://www.livebetteramerica.com• The website is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle for Americans by providing healthy recipes, fitness & nutrition articles, and various other tools. It receives around 700,000 visitors per day.
Kraft Foods: Overview• Ranked #50 on Fortune 500 Companies in 2012• $54 billion in annual revenue• Recently split into two companies (October 2012) – Mondelez – global snack food business – Kraft – American grocery goods company – *Note: In this presentation, I will consider the full profile of food brands of the original Kraft Foods Inc.• Brand message: “Make today delicious.”
Kraft Foods: Health & Nutrition Philosophy• “At Kraft, we believe that you can enjoy what you eat and still live a healthy lifestyle.”• Advocates helping people make better decisions by having clear nutrition labels.• Eat Delicious. Live Well.
Kraft Foods: Health Improvements• Since 2005, Kraft has reformulated almost a third of their products in their portfolio.• Doubled amount of whole grain used in Nabisco products such as Ritz and Teddy Grams by 2013• Committed to reduce sodium content by average of 10% across North American products• Eliminated (?) trans fat from most products including Wheat Thins, Teddy Grams, and Reduced Fat Oreos
Kraft Foods: Responsibility “Salsa, SaborySalud”Kraft Foods Foundation supports the NationalLatino Children’s Institute’s program“Salsa, SaborySalud,” which teaches theimportance of nutritional awareness and physicalactivity to Latino families in order to address thegrowing obesity rates among Latino children inAmerica. Since 2002, Kraft has donated $7.5million to the program.
Kraft Foods: ResponsibilityHealthy Weight Commitment Foundation• Founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a CEO-led organization designed to help reduce obesity rates in America by promoting balanced diet and exercise, targeting schools and families.• 210 active corporate and nonprofit members
Kraft Foods: Snack Foods Trans Fat2010: two citizens filed a class action law suit against KraftFoods for misleading claims that certain snack productswere wholesome when in fact most of them containedtrans fat and partially hydrogenated oil Kraft Foods denied any wrongdoing or faulty package claims, arguing that their promotional health statements (such as “wholesome” and “sensible”) were too vague to be accused as misleading. MORAL OF THE STORY: “whole wheat,” “good source of calcium,” and “sensible snacking” do NOT indicate healthy or trans fat free
Kraft Foods: Snack Foods Trans FatAs of 2013, many Kraft snack foodsstill contain partially hydrogenatedoil. In 2006, Kraft officially“eliminated” trans fat from Serving Size on NutritionOreos, which by FDA standardsmeans less than 0.5 grams per Label (grams)serving. Nutrition labels on most 40products claim to have 0 grams trans 35fat (but with varying serving 30sizes), and the ingredients list 25 20contains partially hydrogenated oil. 15 ServingTaken this into consideration, it 10seems highly questionable that Size on 5heavier versions of Oreos have a 0 Nutritionsmaller serving size on the nutrition Labellabel. Is the reduced serving size (grams)intended to hide the fact that thecookies actually contain smallamounts of trans fat? It’s quitepossible.
Kraft Foods: Snack Foods Trans Fat• Very recently, Kraft reformulated many of its products and replaced partially hydrogenated oil with high ocleic oil, which contains no trans fat. However, certain product varieties that do contain partially hydrogenated oil are still currently in available in stores (as of April 9, 2013). Thus, Kraft continues to contribute this harmful ingredient to American diets. Photo: Chips Ahoy! nutrition label taken on 04/09/12
Kraft Foods: New Products OreosKraft continues to produce new, innovativeproducts but most are not considered to behealthier options. Also, there is no standardnutrition goal across the snack food category. Calories: 180 Calories: 160 Fat: 9 grams Fat: 7 grams Sugar: 19 grams Sugar: 14 grams
Kraft Foods: New Products Oreo• Even the reduced fat version only has slightly better nutrition content 180 160 Original Oreo 140 120 Reduced Fat 100 Oreo 80 60 40 20 0 Calories Fat (grams) Sugar (grams)
Kraft Foods: Nutrition Improvements• “Significant” increases in whole grain in products such as Wheat Thins and Ritz in 2010. 2x’s more whole grain
Kraft Foods: New Products 100 Calorie Brand• Kraft launched a highly successful line of snack products that were designed to help in portion-control. These products were created in response to consumer demand for snacks that encouraged sensible eating habits.• However, research soon found that the small, healthy labeled packages often made consumers eat twice as much
Kraft Foods: Lunchables• Lunchables is a brand of convenient, packaged lunch meals intended to be consumed by young children. There are several different varieties, containing items such as processed cheese, ham and turkey, Ritz crackers, Capri Sun, etc.• Since its launch in 1988, Lunchables has been under scrutiny for its high calorie, high fat, and low-nutrient nutrition content. However, it continues to be sold and consumed by America’s youth. “If you take Lunchables apart, the most healthy item in it is the napkin.”
Kraft Foods: Lunchables Nutrition Improvement & New Products• 2007: replaced unhealthiest items (such as M&M’s, Cola, and Reese’s Cups) with new items such as Capri Sun and Airheads• 2011: Dropped the highly unhealthy “Maxed Out” line and worked on improving nutritional profile• 2013: New “Uploaded” line contains items such as Pringles and Cheez-Its
Kraft Foods: Lunchables Nutrition Improvement Calories Fat SugarLunchablesMax’d Out Pepperoni 520 17 grams 35 gramsPizza (discontinued)Lunchables Mega Pack Cracker 750 57 grams 31 gramsCombo (discontinued)Lunchables Uploaded Pizza 400 15 grams 17 grams(new)Lunchables with Fruit (new) 480 13 grams 49 grams *Note: The nutrition information for Lunchables was not available on their brand website or Kraft’s company website. I was able to find the nutrition content through secondary sources such as myfitnesspal.com
Kraft Foods: Health PromotionsHealthy Living Recipes – Kraft’s website offers a multitude of recipes, most of which feature one of more of its products as ingredients – There is one section on the website that promotes healthy eating through recipes that are low in fat and calories. – However, many other recipes on the website feature much less nutritious items. Thus, there seems to be a lack of consistency.
General Mills vs. Kraft Foods: Brief Summary• General Mills has been more slightly more consistent with their nutrition goals and standards, both in terms of product improvements and new product developments• General Mills is more focused on nourishment, whereas Kraft Foods is more focused on taste• Both companies approach nutrition improvements by making incremental changes in order to avoid significant taste alterations.• Although both companies have made efforts in promoting healthy lifestyles and fighting against obesity, General Mills seems to be slightly more proactive and continues to look for new ways to contribute to the cause. Kraft Foods has also made respectable efforts (with a narrower focus) but has not pursued new courses of impact.