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Nabisco to double whole grains in crackers

Kraft Foods announced plans today to double the amount of whole grain in its Nabisco cracker brands, which include Wheat Thins, Saltines and Ritz.

Over the next three years, many of its flagship products will get a whole-grain boost, said Rhonda Jordan, Kraft's president of Global Health & Wellness. The whole-grain goodness in Wheat Thins will double from 11 grams to 22 grams per serving; in Wheat Thins Toasted Chips, the amount increases from 5 grams to 17 grams per serving; in Honey Maid Original Graham Crackers, which have 5 grams per serving, the new number of grams per serving is 20.

Nine out of ten Americans fall short of the recommended daily allowance of three servings of whole grains, according to an advisory report for the 2010 dietary guidelines.

Jordan said the effort to add whole grains began four years ago. One of the keys was a new milling technique -- proprietary so she could provide no details -- that allows the company to include the whole kernel, where many nutrients are stored, without changing the taste of familiar products.

"It has to taste good, if not better. That's the criteria by which we judge the success of a reformulation," she said.

The announcement comes as food companies are scrambling to improve the healthfulness of their products, many of which have been blamed for the epidemic rates of obesity in America. Last year, Campbell Soup cut sodium in 90 soups by between 25 and 50 percent. Update: Juli Mandel Sloves, senior manager for nutrition and wellness communications at Campbell, notes that her company's efforts are not a reactionary but have been underway for many years.

In May, in a direct response to first lady Michelle Obama's war on childhood obesity, an alliance of major food manufacturers pledged to introduce new, more healthful options, cut portion sizes and slash 1 trillion calories by the end of 2012. The 16 manufacturer members make 20 to 25 percent of food consumed in the United States.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  July 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  On Our Radar  | Tags: Jane Black  
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Campbell's Soup Company is not owned by Kraft.

Posted by: alwalw | July 26, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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