Kraft Food's Fight against Obesity

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG025
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 1996-2006
Pub. Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Kraft Foods
Industry : Food and Beverages
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Towards A Healthy Future?

Though no other food company came up with as comprehensive a set of anti-obesity initiatives as Kraft Foods, many did make some positive moves in this direction.

In mid-2003, McDonald's announced that it would switch to healthier cooking oils to cut the percentage of trans fatty acids in its products. Wendy's, another leading US fast food chain, introduced a new range of salads which were served with packets of optional ingredients to allow customers to choose the amount of fat and calories they wanted. McCain Foods (Florenceville, N.B.), a producer of french fries, announced that it had stopped using hydrogenated oils in its products and switched to non-hydrogenated oils that contained less trans fatty acids. McDonald's announced that it would test a Happy Meal scheme that would allow customers to choose between french fries and apple slices.

Kellogg's, another leading food company, announced plans to introduce a range of vegetarian foods and natural cereals.

While it was commendable on the part of food companies to make these changes, was it really their responsibility to deal with the obesity crisis, to encourage healthy eating habits, and to educate customers about the health hazards involved in consuming their products?

The controversy still lingered. Most health professionals across the world seemed to be sure of the role of food companies in the obesity crisis.

According to Margo Wootan (Wootan), Director, Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest, "One would have to be a complete ostrich to believe that fast-food makers have no culpability in the obesity epidemic."

Wootan argued that the practice of offering large portions (super-size meals) was playing a major role in increasing the child obesity rate in the US...


Exhibit I: Kraft Foods - A Timeline
Exhibit II: Kraft Foods - Major Products/Brands
Exhibit III: Demands of Health Organizations to Control Child Obesity
Exhibit IV: Kraft Foods' Early Health Promotion Initiatives


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