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Sara Lee Corporation Joins Industry Initiative to Promote Healthier Foods to Kids

9/23/2010

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Arlington, VA – September 23, 2010 – The Council of Better Business Bureaus today announced that the Sara Lee Corporation, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, has become the newest participant in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). As part of the initiative, Sara Lee has pledged that all TV, print, radio, Internet and other CFBAI-covered advertising directed primarily to children under 12 will be for products that meet government standards defining the term “healthy” or the American Heart Association’s HeartCheck program criteria. 

Since its inception in 2006 with 10 founding companies, the CFBAI has grown to include 17 industry leaders that have all committed to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthier lifestyles in children’s advertising. To that end, participants in the initiative pledge to advertise only better-for-you products in media primarily directed to children under 12 or not to engage in any child-directed advertising. 

“Sara Lee is showing its commitment to the health of our nation’s children by joining other industry leaders in only advertising to kids products that meet widely-accepted nutritional guidelines,” said Elaine D. Kolish, BBB vice president and director of the CFBAI. “Under the CFBAI, the participants’ voluntary use of solid nutrition standards has steadily improved the nutritional profile of foods and beverages being advertised to children under 12. The calories, fat, sugar or sodium content of more than 100 products have decreased and four companies are not engaging in child-directed advertising at all.”

“We’re pleased to be joining the CFBAI with our industry peers to help promote healthier products to kids,” said Laston Charriez, vice president, consumer and shopper activation, Sara Lee Corporation.  “We look forward to working with the CFBAI and its members on this important topic.”

In addition to meeting government or AHA standards, any product advertised would have to fill a recognized nutritional need in children’s diets. For instance, the Sara Lee bread that is advertised on children’s programming meets the FDA definition for “healthy” and contains at least eight grams of whole grain per serving.

As required for all participants in the Initiative, Sara Lee will also:

  • Restrict the use of third-party licensed characters in advertising primarily directed to children under 12 to products meeting its nutrition criteria;
  • Refrain from advertising its food and beverages in elementary schools;
  • Not pay for, or seek out, product placement in the program/editorial content of any media primarily directed to children under 12; and,
  • Limit the use of food and beverages shown in interactive games primarily directed to children under 12 to products that meet its nutrition criteria.

“Not only has the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative continued to grow through increased industry participation, we are also continuing to move the ball forward through greater harmonization and compliance oversight,” added Kolish.

The BBB today announced that virtually all participants are now using an audience threshold of no higher than 35 percent of children under 12 in the audience for their commitments to apply. Previously, some participants’ pledges applied only if at least half the audience consisted of children under 12. This harmonization of the participants’ definitions of “advertising primarily directed to children under 12” will provide even greater clarity and certainty to what is meant by child-directed advertising.

Additionally, because the majority of the participants now have policies to not engage in advertising primarily directed to children under age six, the BBB will start monitoring and reporting on compliance with those policies in 2011.

To view the participants’ updated pledges, the newest edition of the CFBAI’s Program and Core Principles Statement, and a chart summarizing the participants’ policies and definitions on advertising to children under 12 and six, visit http://www.bbb.org/us/children-food-beverage-advertising-initiative.

For more information on the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative or to schedule an interview with the Director, Elaine Kolish, contact Alison Southwick at asouthwick@council.bbb.org or 703-247-9376.  For more information on Sara Lee Corporation, please contact Mike Cummins at 630-598-8412.

About the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative
The Council of Better Business Bureaus launched the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in November 2006 to shift the mix of advertising messaging directed at children to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthier lifestyles. The 17 participants of the Initiative are Burger King Corp.; Cadbury Adams USA LLC; Campbell Soup Company; The Coca-Cola Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; The Dannon Company; General Mills, Inc.; The Hershey Company; Kellogg Company; Kraft Foods Global, Inc.; Mars, Inc.; McDonald’s USA, LLC; Nestlé USA; PepsiCo, Inc.; Post Foods, LLC; Sara Lee Corporation and Unilever United States. For more information about the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and to view the pledges of the participants visit: http://www.bbb.org/us/children-food-beverage-advertising-initiative.  

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