Indicative of the confusion regarding how to confront the rising obesity problem, Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., retreated from its earlier statement that it was putting a “cap on the portion size of single-serve packages.” The company made this statement last July when it announced that it was creating a Worldwide Health & Wellness Advisory Council to evaluate the company’s product lines and develop policies, standards and measures to respond to rising obesity rates.
“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 plans to cap the portion size of single-serve packages,” the company said. The first part of this plan consists of a broad range of portion-size choices, including single-serve packages. The company rolled out the first of these single-serve packages in July.
100 Calorie Packs from Nabisco come in six, 4.44-oz. to 4.86-oz. packs per box. The pre-portioned packages contain 100 calories, two to three grams of fat per pack and zero grams of trans fat per serving. The products retail for $2.69 and include the brands Oreo Thin Crisps, Chips Ahoy! Thin Crisps, Kraft Cheese Nips Thin Crisps and Wheat Thins Minis.
The second part of Kraft’s portion-size plan involves using a new approach to labeling packages that contain as many as four servings. “In the U.S., Kraft plans to provide labels that communicate the nutrition content of an entire package, so consumers don’t have to ‘do the math’ themselves,” the company says.
This shift in direction mirrors the perplexity experienced by many food manufacturers about whether or not to produce healthful varieties of their favorite products. This confusion has particularly affected the cookie market, which has received a battery of negative press from both carbohydrate counters and the upcoming trans- fatty acid regulations.
At the root of the problem is whether consumers want healthful cookies or rich, fat-filled cookies.
Kraft’s recent new product launches indicate that the company is trying to give consumers an option. In the last year alone, the company says it has reduced the fat content in about 200 existing products in North America. Kraft estimates that these changes eliminated more than 30 billion calories on an annualized basis.