Review and special article| Volume 44, ISSUE 2, P174-184, February 2013

Food Companies' Calorie-Reduction Pledges to Improve U.S. Diet


      Heretofore, corporate voluntary pledges to improve the health of Americans have been linked neither to explicit measurable commitments nor to a framework for an independent evaluation. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), whose members include 16 of the nation's leading consumer packaged goods food and beverage manufacturers, voluntarily pledged to collectively remove 1 trillion calories from their products by 2012 (against a 2007 baseline), and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015. The pledge is designed to reduce the calorie gap commensurate with the HWCF companies' role in the U.S. diet. To date, no system exists for documenting the nutritional and public health impacts of industry-led changes in the food supply on individual diets.
      The current study represents a unique opportunity to understand how the consumer packaged goods food and beverage sector is changing and how these changes are associated with changes in the American diet. It presents data on national caloric sales from this sector, purchases of these goods by various subpopulations, and methods linking these to individual intakes of Americans. Findings show that HWCF companies accounted for approximately 25% of calories consumed in the U.S. in 2007 and that the 1.5 trillion–calorie pledge (about 14 calories/day/capita) accounts for 0.8% of the calories sold across all consumer packaged goods food and beverage brands in 2007. The authors hope that this evaluation will continue to create models and methods for demonstrating the effects of changes in the food supply on individual diets, particularly among those from vulnerable subpopulations.
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      Linked Article

      • Building Infrastructure to Document the U.S. Food Stream
        American Journal of Preventive MedicineVol. 44Issue 2
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          As obesity has grown in both prevalence and severity in the U.S., there have been increasing calls for both regulatory and voluntary approaches to alter the nation's food supply so it becomes easier for both children and adults to “make the healthy choice.”1 As pointed out in the article by Slining et al.2 in this issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the 16 companies participating in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) have pledged to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2015.
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      • Correction
        American Journal of Preventive MedicineVol. 44Issue 4
        • Preview
          Slining MM, Ng SW, Popkin BM. Food companies' calorie-reduction pledges to improve U.S. diet. Am J Prev Med 2013;44(2):174–84.
        • Full-Text
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