When Kraft Foods joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) in 2006, it committed to advertise only healthier dietary choices, including some varieties of Lunchables, directly to children.
However, a recent report by the Rudd Center examined the nutritional quality and marketing of Kraft Lunchables and found that just five out of 42 varieties meet CFBAI’s nutrition standards for advertising to children. In the supermarket, less nutritious versions of Lunchables outnumber the healthier ones by six to one, and the healthier varieties are most likely to be stocked on the top shelf, above eye level for both children and adults.
• Adopt a comprehensive policy on brand advertising and marketing;
• Update Kraft’s food marketing policy to cover in-store and on-package marketing; and
• Extend Kraft’s marketing policy to cover children ages 12 to 14.
Brand marketing, in-store and on-package marketing, and the exclusion of children ages 12 to 14 as part of company marketing policies are key weaknesses of self-regulation that the Food Marketing Workgroup has been pushing to strengthen.
In addition to sending a letter to Kraft, the Food Marketing Workgroup launched a social media campaign urging followers to share information on how Kraft baits parents by advertising a few healthy brands on TV, then hides those on store shelves among 37 unhealthy varieties containing cookies, sugary drinks and fruit snacks.
Howard County’s school wellness policy ranked among the best in the nation, according to the Rudd Center’s Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT). The WellSAT assesses the comprehensiveness and strength of school districts’ local wellness policies in nutrition education and promotion, physical activity/physical education, school meals, and competitive foods.
The wellness policy, created by the Howard County Board of Education, was awarded an overall grade of "A" and earned a "B" for effectiveness of enforcement. The policy scored highest for its school meal plans and programs, its vending machine offerings and its evaluation measures, which all earned a perfect 100 percent overall. Physical education and activity earned an 86 on the comprehensive score and 57 for enforcement.
"The Howard County school wellness policy is one of the very best that I've ever seen,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center’s Director. “The nutrition sections in particular will serve as a model for other districts around the country."
The policy, which aims to promote the health of Howard County’s nearly 52,000 students, was assessed for the Horizon Foundation, a Howard County philanthropy focused on public health.