General Mills Announces Children’s Advertising Pledge
Company to Strengthen Nutrition Criteria; Enforce New Sugar Guideline.
General Mills today announced additions to its Guidelines for Responsible Advertising to Children that will strengthen the company’s nutrition criteria and add a new sugar guideline that will further limit the products advertised to children under 12.
General Mills made the announcement as part of its pledge to the Council of Better Business Bureaus’(CBBB) Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. Appearing today at a session co-sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the CBBB in Washington, D.C., the company announced:
* General Mills will no longer advertise foods containing more than 12 grams of sugar per serving to children under 12.
* General Mills will add “Nutrition Highlights” on the front panel of cereals in the United States designating the percent of Daily Values of calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. The Nutrition Highlights display, an evolution of the “Goodness Corner” information that has appeared for some time on all Big G packaging, will help consumers more quickly assess nutrition information important to making informed food choices.
General Mills said all of its products will meet these new requirements by the end of 2008, or they will no longer be advertised to children under 12. More than 90 percent of its advertising, the company pledged, will meet the new criteria by the end of 2007.
"General Mills has always been a national leader in responsible marketing and advertising practices,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.). “I applaud the announcement made today and their commitment to children’s nutrition.”
The nutrition criteria in General Mills’ Guidelines for Responsible Advertising to Children had already limited the advertising of many of its products. General Mills already does not advertise any products containing more than 175 calories per serving. Products also must either meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “healthy” criteria per labeled serving, or contain at least one-half serving of USDA recommended foods for increased consumption, such as whole grain, fruit, vegetables or low-fat dairy.
Guidelines for advertising food to children
General Mills has had guidelines for responsible marketing to children for decades. The company strengthened those guidelines in 2005, and added detailed nutrition criteria in 2006. But the company called the changes announced today “significant.” The new sugar guideline, for example, means General Mills will no longer advertise to children foods containing more than 12 grams of sugar per serving (exclusive of sugar from fruit, vegetables and dairy) regardless of the health benefits the product might otherwise provide.
In addition, any General Mills product advertised to children under 12 must meet or exceed its nutrition guidelines for Healthy Dietary Choices based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition of “healthy foods,” and the U.S. Dietary Guideline recommendations of foods targeted for increased consumption. The company’s Healthy Dietary Choices guidelines include limits on calories, fat, sodium and trans fat.
General Mills already does not target advertising to children under 6 years of age, and the company does not market to children in K-12 schools. Both self-restrictions have been in place for several years.
“We want to be part of the solution,” said Chris Shea, senior vice president external relations for General Mills, “and we want to help families make good choices. As a founding member of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, we applaud the pledges made today by all 11 companies, and we applaud the work of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in leading this effort. This is a very positive initiative, and we are very pleased to be a part of it.”
General Mills said it also is adding “Nutrition Highlights” to the front panel of its cereals to help consumers quickly see and compare nutrition information important to making informed food choices. The Nutrition Highlights display will feature six icons on the front panel of each box showing the amount and Daily Value of calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar, plus two other nutrients. Consumers will begin seeing the Nutrition Highlights icons on packages of Big G cereals beginning in October 2007.
“We believe that companies like ours can make a difference, and can play an important role in providing lower calorie, higher nutrient products to parents and their children,” said Shea. “Much of our product portfolio is uniquely aligned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2005 Dietary Guidelines – providing whole grain, low-fat dairy, fruits or vegetables. But our new and stronger nutrition criteria will further strengthen our guidelines. It’s an appropriate step to take, and we’re pleased to be announcing it here today.”
Under the terms of the CBBB Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, announced in November 2006, participating companies commit to devote at least half of their advertising directed to children under 12 to promoting healthier dietary choices and/or messages that encourage good nutrition or healthy lifestyles. Each company’s commitment also addresses interactive games, product placement and the use of third party licensed characters.
In its pledge, General Mills committed to applying its guidelines and nutrition criteria to 100 percent of its advertising. All products will meet these requirements by the end of 2008, the company said, or they will no longer be advertised to children under 12.
General Mills is Nourishing Lives™ and helping make lives healthier in numerous ways, including increasing people’s intake of whole grain, delivering important nutrients, providing foods that contribute to a healthy heart, and providing low calorie or portion controlled options to help them manage their weight. More than 250 General Mills products contain 130 or fewer calories per serving, and more than 100 contain less than 100 calories per serving, including cereals, soups, yogurt, granola bars, dinner rolls, vegetables and soymilk.
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.