5 Companies That Are Changing Their Tune on Obesity


Fast food companies are the first to come to mind when you think about companies that have made a concerted effort to address obesity. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King have all made changes to their menus and cooking processes to help support the war on obesity. Here are 5 other companies that are also changing their tune and helping to fight obesity.

1) Coke and Pepsi

The soft drink giants recently joined the war on obesity by trial testing new vending machines. “Calorie Counts” not only displays the calorie count of every drink but also suggests alternate selections with lower calories counts. Ad Age reporter Natalie Zmuda says, “Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are ‘actively promoting their low or no calorie beverages’” and the industry in general wants to become “'part of the conversation’ on obesity.” Tropicana, which is owned by PepsiCo Inc., is doing its part. It is developing a new product, Trop50, that is “a less-sweet drink that contains a day's supply of vitamin C in a 50-calorie, 8-ounce serving.”

2) Walt Disney

Disney announced plans to finally consider the health of its audience – children. They banned junk food ads from all of their theme parks, networks, and stations. They also plan to introduce a new line of “healthy eating products" and “Mickey Check” in grocery stores. The Disney-licensed products will meet “certain limits on calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.”

3) Wal-Mart

In 2011 the retail giant announced a five-year plan to bring affordable healthy food choices to market. The company said it will leverage its size to “reduce the price premium” on healthy foods like whole grain products “because customers shouldn’t have to pay more to eat healthier.” Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of sustainability, said “Our customers tell us they want a variety of food choices and need help feeding their families healthier foods. At Wal-Mart, we are committed to doing both.” The initiative is “designed to help reduce the consumption of sodium, sugar, and trans fats.”

The Wal-Mart initiative builds on First Lady Michele Obama’s successful campaign to make “healthy choices more convenient and affordable for families.”

The company has made it a business priority to provide fresh and affordable groceries to underserved communities. Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S explained “No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford. We are committed to working collaboratively and in partnership with our suppliers in order to make this initiative a success.”

4) Kraft Foods

Kraft has used technology to help with the war on obesity. They have created an iPad app, “Big Fork, Little Fork” and a smartphone app, “iFood Assistant” to deliver quality information on healthy eating. Big Fork Little Fork offers parents recipes and tips on healthy eating. The app also contains how-to videos and educational games for children that teach smart eating habits and an appreciation for food. iFood Assistant gives users access to thousands of healthy eating recipes. Users can access step-by-step preparation instructions, watch videos, and generate shopping lists.

5) Boar’s Head

“Boar’s Head meat and cheeses are sold everywhere from posh supermarkets to your local corner store.” High salt and sodium food can directly contribute to obesity and “deli meats and cheeses are notoriously high in salt and sodium.” Boar’s Head launched the “Assault on Salt” campaign to address the issue. The holistic program includes advice on how to lower sodium intake, recipes for low sodium meals and a full range of low sodium deli meats and cheeses.