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Major food, drink companies selling trillions fewer calories

Part of the 6.4 trillion-calorie drop could be linked to declining sales overall, due to shifting appetites of shoppers.

By Ananth Baliga
Major food, drink companies selling trillions fewer calories
Major food and drink companies have reduced the number of calories they sell by 6.4 trillion from 2007 to 2012. (File/UPI /Monika Graff) | License Photo

Americans are consuming fewer calories packaged by the country's food and beverage giants, which together reduced total calories sold by 6.4 trillion from 2007 to 2012, which works out to 78 calories per person per day.

The 16 largest food and beverage companies in the U.S. -- which include Kraft Foods, Pepsico, and Coca Cola Co. -- had pledged to remove 1 trillion calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015, using 2007 as a baseline.

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The independent report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that these companies exceeded the goal for 2012 by 400 percent, selling only 54 trillion calories worth of products.

"They must sustain that reduction, as they've pledged to do, and other food companies should follow their lead to give Americans the lower-calorie foods and beverages they want," said James Marks of the health-focused Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement.

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Such products have seen their sales decline generally, by about 0.4 percent each year since 2010 for these large packaged food companies, according to one report.

The 16 companies participating in the initiative run by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation account for 36 percent of packaged food and drink calories sold in the U.S.

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"If they really have cut 70 to 80 calories per person, per day that could have a meaningful public health effect," Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Ad Age.

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But she was skeptical of whether this was a proactive change by the food marketing companies or simply a shift in eating habits of Americans, who are increasingly conscious of their food choices, and stayed away from giving these companies all the credit.

[Ad Age] [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation] [Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation]

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