Food Industry Cuts Calories Four-Fold Over Pledge

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Some of the nation’s largest food companies have cut daily calorie counts by an average of 78 per person, a new study says, more than four times the amount the industry pledged to slash by next year.

The study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that between 2007 and 2012, the estimated total cut in food product calories from a group of 16 major food companies was in the range of 6.4 trillion.

Seventy-eight calories would be about the same as an average cookie or a medium apple, and the federal government estimates an average daily diet at around 2,000 calories. The study said the calories cut averaged out to 78 calories per day for the entire U.S. population.

The 2010 pledge taken by the companies — including General Mills Inc., Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods Inc., Kraft Foods Inc., Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Hershey Co. — was to cut 1 trillion calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.

The researchers aren’t yet releasing the entire study, but they said Thursday that the companies have exceeded their own goals by a wide margin.