Food companies' calorie-reduction pledges to improve U.S. diet

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Feb;44(2):174-84. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.064.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / standards
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Food / standards
  • Food Industry / organization & administration
  • Food Industry / standards*
  • Food Packaging
  • Food Supply / standards
  • Humans
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Public Health