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No sugar reduction in Mondelēz health and wellness pledge

By Oliver Nieburg+

13-Mar-2014
Last updated the 13-Mar-2014 at 17:10 GMT

Mondelēz 'Call for Well-being' pledge suggests reformulating products to contain less sugar is not the answer
Mondelēz 'Call for Well-being' pledge suggests reformulating products to contain less sugar is not the answer

Mondelēz is to cut saturated fat and sodium by 10% by 2020, but suggests reducing consumer sugar intake is manageable with portion controlled products and education.

The Cadbury and Oreo owner yesterday announced its ‘Call for Well-being’ strategy in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goals to reduce salt and saturated fat consumption and to better manage calorie and sugar intake.

The pledge included a commitment to front of pack calorie labels on all products globally by 2016 and a 10% sodium and saturated fat reduction by 2020.  However, it made no mention of reformulating products to contain less sugar.

What about sugar?

Instead, like Ferrero , Mondelēz is hoping to educate consumers to make healthier choices and aims to manage consumption with portion control by increasing individually wrapped options of 200 calories or less by 25% by 2020.

WHO recently advised that a person’s recommended sugar intake should be halved to 5% of total calorie intake per day due to new research on obesity and dental carries – this equates to around 25 g of sugar per day for an adult of average size.

Mondelēz’s single-serve Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in the UK contains 25.5 g of sugar and would mean an average adult has already exceeded WHO’s latest recommendation by eating one bar. Eat three Oreos and an average adult will be at half her daily recommended intake.

‘Better Choice’

Mondelēz is hoping ‘Better Choice’ products will account for a quarter of revenues by 2020. We asked the firm which products fit into the ‘Better Choice’ category, but a response was not forthcoming.

CEO Irene Rosenfeld said in a promotional video: “We know that this focus on well-being will enable us to seize opportunities to grow our business faster and more efficiently while also helping to make the world a better place.”

Front of pack labeling and regulations

Mondelēz has also committed to front of pack calorie labeling on products globally by 2016, following earlier moves from Mars, Hershey  and Jelly Belly . The National Confectioners' Association (NCA) last year adopted a voluntary program  encouraging members to put calories on the front of packs.

At the 2013 NCA State of the Industry Conference, Debra Sandler, president of Mondelēz’s rival Mars Chocolate North America, urged the industry to respond to raising concerns on global obesity and to stop skirting the issue by asserting that confectionery only accounts for 2% of calories in the diet.

If we don’t [act], I worry that someone else will do it for us….Don’t wait for regulators to tell us what to do,” she said.

In its wellness pledge, Mondelēz also announced it would invest $50m over the next several years on community partnerships to encourage healthier lifestyles. It has also committed to increasing whole grains across its product range by 25% by 2020.

In addition, the company included previously announced sustainability pledges, such as a $600m investment in sustainable cocoa program Cocoa Life over the next ten years, in the Call for Well-being pledge.

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