"We applaud (PHA honorary chair First Lady Michelle) Obama and Partnership for a Healthier America for their commitment to the health and future of our children and adults," said Dannon's president and CEO Mariano Lozano. "As the largest maker of yogurt in the United States today, it's a privilege and a responsibility to continually improve the cultured dairy foods we carefully prepare every day for the millions of families who enjoy our products. Dannon's commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America represents another big step in our journey to help address the issue of obesity in America."
Dannon's commitment goals are based on the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which recommends that Americans consume more nutrient-dense foods, like yogurt. Nutrient dense foods are those that provide more vitamins and minerals, like vitamin D and potassium, and less fat, sugar and salt. Most yogurts -- already nutrient-dense -- provide three of the four nutrients of public health concern most lacking in American diets as identified by the 2010 DGA: calcium, potassium and vitamin D. Additionally, eating yogurt is associated with less weight gain, and yogurt is a more easily digestible dairy option for individuals with lactose intolerance and, according to research, associated with better diet quality and healthier dietary patterns. To that point, two weeks ago, the U.S. government authorized the inclusion of yogurt in certain Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food packages, recognizing the importance of yogurt to an increasingly diverse and vulnerable part of the U.S. population.
"Busy families reach for yogurt as an easy snack and nutritious addition to lunch boxes across the country every day. Dannon's commitment to reduce sugar and fat in more of its products makes healthier choices even easier for millions of parents and families," said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. "We are pleased to welcome Dannon into the PHA family."
Dannon plans to achieve these ambitious goals by 2016 through a combination of introducing new innovations and reformulating existing products. Recipe developers and other experts at Dannon will build on their learnings from last year's reformulation of the company's bestselling children's product, Danimals smoothies, in which the company reduced sugar by 25% while maintaining taste, texture and convenience. Dannon's new introduction of a Greek yogurt, Danimals SuperStars, specifically designed for the preferences and nutritional needs of kids, already meets the strict criteria.
Specifically, The Dannon Company pledges to do the following by 2016:
- Improve the nutrient density by 10% of the Dannon product portfolio overall by increasing nutrients that are encouraged in the diet, like vitamin D, and decreasing total sugar and fat.
- Reduce the amount of total sugar in Dannon products to 23g or less (per 6oz. serving) in 100% of products for children and 70% of the company's products overall.
- Reduce the amount of fat in Dannon products, so that 75% of products will be low-fat or fat-free.
- Invest $3 million in nutrition education and research focused on healthy eating habits.