“Our industry has an important role to play in helping people lead healthy lives and our actions are having a positive impact,” said Indra Nooyi, HWCF chair, chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo. “We see continued opportunities to give consumers the choices they’re looking for and to work collaboratively with the public and non-profit sectors on initiatives that enable continued progress.”
“We continue to thank the First Lady for her leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity,” said Lisa Gable, president of the HWCF. “In 2010 we pledged that we would reduce calories in the marketplace and we have delivered on that promise.”
In announcing this milestone, Ms. Gable was joined at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) by former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and BPC Senior Fellow Dan Glickman; Tracy Orleans, senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF); and Hank Cardello, senior fellow and director, Obesity Solutions Initiative at Hudson Institute and author of the recently released report, “Lower-Calorie Foods and Beverages Drive Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Companies’ Sales Growth.”
Mr. Glickman said the accomplishment exemplified what can happen when the public and private sectors join forces. “The leading food and beverage companies in the country came together to form this first-of-its kind foundation because they knew they could make a difference, and they have.”
HWCF has reported annually to the PHA on the progress that has been made toward its pledge. RWJF, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, is supporting a rigorous, independent evaluation to determine whether HWCF has met its calorie-reduction goal. That evaluation will be released in the fall. Follow-up studies supported by RWJF will also evaluate subsequent effects on children’s diets.
Larry Soler, president and CEO of the PHA, said the report from the HWCF indicates that consumer demand is shifting toward healthier choices. “We are pleased that HWCF’s participating companies are a key part of this transformation. HWCF was one of the first organizations to sign on with PHA, which is committed to working with the private sector to help end the childhood obesity crisis within a generation. Our partners know that a commitment made is a commitment kept—it’s part of what makes them leaders and worthy of praise. So while HWCF’s numbers look positive, we look forward to the findings of the independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is available in the fall.”
The HWCF participating companies include: Bumble Bee Foods, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Mars Incorporated, McCormick & Company, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Post Foods/Ralston Foods, Sara Lee Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, The J.M. Smucker Company and Unilever.