B.K. joins Children's Food and Beverage Ad Initiative

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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MIAMI ― In recent years, the fast-food industry has increasingly become a target of critics lashing out at many menu items geared for children from a nutritional standpoint, as well as advertising campaigns aimed at children.

One of the industry’s leading players, Burger King Corp., announced on Sept. 12 that it will help lead the way in promoting children’s nutrition by joining 11 major food and beverage companies that have pledged to focus their advertising to children under 12 on products that promote healthy dietary choices and lifestyles.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus (C.B.B.B.) on Sept. 12 also approved Burger King Corp.’s advertising commitment as being consistent with the core principles set out in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.

"Our pledge and the commitment we’ve made to take positive steps to provide new and innovative food and beverage products that will provide more nutritionally balanced options for kids will ensure that our menu remains relevant to all our customers," said John Chidsey, chief executive officer, Burger King Corp. "We not only want to better inform parents and kids about these new menu options, but also to demonstrate through product innovation that better-for-you foods can be fun and taste good."

As part of its Advertising Commitment, Burger King developed a strict set of nutrition guidelines that it will follow with respect to the food and beverage products it advertises to children under 12 years of age. By December 2008, such advertising will be limited to Kids Meals that provide:

• No more than 560 calories per meal

• Less than 30% of calories from fat

• Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat

• No added trans fat

• No more than 10% of calories from added sugars

These stringent nutritional standards are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and other scientifically established dietary recommendations. A Kids Meal that will meet the criteria is currently in development and will be available in restaurants some time in 2008.

The new Kids Meal is planned to include Flame Broiled Chicken Tenders (four-piece), with other innovative products currently in development.

"We believe that nutrition, quality, value, and taste are all important attributes that can help our customers make healthier choices," Mr. Chidsey said. "We are committed to utilizing our product innovation to develop new menu options that help promote a balanced diet."

In addition, Burger King will:

• Restrict advertising to children under 12 that uses third-party licensed characters to Kids Meals that meet its Nutrition Guidelines;

• Refrain from advertising in elementary schools and from product placement in media primarily aimed at children under 12;

• Promote Kids Meals that meet its Nutrition Guidelines on its web site; and

• Promote healthy lifestyles and healthy dietary choices in advertising.

The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative was established in November 2006 to shift the mix of advertising messaging to children to encourage healthier dietary choices and lifestyle choices. Other companies that have taken the pledge include: Cadbury Adams, USA, L.L.C.; Campbell Soup Co.; The Coca-Cola Co.; General Mills, Inc.; The Hershey Co.; The Kellogg Co.; Kraft Foods Inc.; Mars, Inc.; McDonald’s USA, L.L.C.; PepsiCo, Inc.; and Unilever United States.

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