Kraft adopts Smart Choices criteria for kids’ advertising

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Smart choices program, Nutrition

Kraft Foods has said that it will use the nutrition criteria behind the new Smart Choices nutrition labeling program to determine which products it advertises to American children aged 6-11.

The green check mark of the front-of-pack Smart Choices program started to appear on products last week. Unlike other nutrition labeling programs, it does not list the nutritional attributes on-pack, but bases a product’s inclusion in the scheme on “strict, science-based criteria”​ developed by a coalition of scientists, nutritionists, consumer organizations and food industry leaders, in harmony with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Kraft is a member of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which aims to shift the mix of advertising to children to encourage healthy eating and lifestyle.

Senior director of health and wellness at Kraft Foods North America Triona Schmelter said: "We were the first company to stop advertising products to children that didn't meet specific nutrition criteria, so it is a logical next step to use the Smart Choices Program criteria, which are uniform and consistent across many companies, to help consumers understand our advertising guidelines and make better-for-you product choices.”

Kraft has said that the green check mark will gradually replace similar nutrition labels on all its products, including its own ‘Sensible Solution’ mark, which is also used by other participating companies.

“This is part of our continuing efforts to ensure our advertising practices meet consumer expectations,"​ Schmelter said.

The Smart Choices Program allows for a maximum three-year transition period, but Kraft said that it expects to make the move in its own range sooner, and that some products featuring the new symbol will appear in stores in the next few weeks, including its Teddy Grahams and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers.

There are about 500 products which have already qualified to display the Smart Choices logo, including foods and beverages made by ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Co., PepsiCo, Sun-Maid, Tyson and Unilever. Qualification is based on three categories: Nutrients to limit, such as fat, sugar and sodium; nutrients to encourage, including many vitamins and minerals; and food groups to encourage, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

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