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Big Companies Trying to Make Food Healthier

July 29, 2013
Plain English Version

Big food companies, such as PepsiCo and Taco Bell, are turning to well-known chefs to help them come up with good-tasting, healthier foods.

The industry is feeling good about what they are doing. They are also trying to avoid more government regulation.

A food company executive said, “The challenge facing us and other big food companies today is not easy: to have a great-tasting product without as much salt, fat and sugar. Chefs have ways of tricking the taste buds that we can use in our products.”

Kellogg has cut as much as 30 percent of the sugar in children’s cereals like Apple Jacks and Froot Loops. Taco Bell has a new Power Protein menu that will include items with less fat and calories.

A few supermarkets are trying to help consumers choose healthy foods. They are awarding stars for nutritional quality. Some cookies, crackers, snacks, cereals and yogurts are among the latest products to receive a star.

Consumers are leading the drive for healthier foods. They are looking at labels and worrying about genetically modified foods. Many are concerned about gluten, which is found in cereal grains and wheat.

Chefs are finding they can use fresh herbs to replace salt. They can use raisin paste to replace sugar. A chef said, “They are learning it is not as hard as they thought.”

One of the first products to emerge was Quaker Real Medleys, instant cereals made from whole grains and chunks of fruit and nuts. They have about the same amount of sugar as the company’s traditional instant oatmeal, but about half of the sugar now comes from the fruits and the oats.

Food companies are moving to meet federal dietary guidelines by 2020.

Consumers who continue to press companies for healthier food will find their efforts rewarded.

Source: The New York Times

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