NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Nestle Prepared Foods Company today announced a comprehensive plan to decrease the sodium content in its products by another 10 percent from reductions made earlier this decade. This major initiative will carry through 2015 and includes the company's popular STOUFFER'S®, LEAN CUISINE®, BUITONI®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brands which will undergo gradual but steady recipe changes in order to bring down sodium levels without impacting taste.
"We are dedicated to helping people improve their overall wellness by providing convenient, wholesome and delicious foods. That's what we mean by "Good Food, Good Life," the statement that appears on a number of our consumer communications," said Brad Alford, Chairman & CEO of Nestle USA. "Adjusting our sodium levels is part of our broader effort to create delicious and nutritious options that contribute to healthier lifestyles."
New Ingredients, Classic Flavors
The most recent example of the company's ongoing efforts to provide sound nutrition balanced with great taste are STOUFFER'S® Farmers' Harvest™ meals, to be available nationally by year's end. The Farmers' Harvest™ portfolio includes three new family size meals and seven new individual servings of classic but updated favorites like Macaroni & Cheese and Lasagna.
Taste is assured by the use of high-quality ingredients such as sea salt, olive oil and real cheese. Whole grains are featured in eight of the recipes while four of the individual meals feature 1/2 cup of vegetables. (The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals 1/2 cup.) Sodium content for these ten varieties ranges from 660-950 mg (28% - 40% DV or Percent Daily Value).
"Now is the perfect time to introduce Farmers' Harvest™," Alford said. "Consumers live in an "and" world. They want great taste and sound nutrition, convenience and variety. This is exactly the need Farmer's Harvest meets by offering a convenient and delicious way to satisfy both taste and nutrition needs."
Updating a Classic
Modernizing Macaroni & Cheese is another way that Nestle has improved the nutritional profile and sodium content of its offerings, while still assuring taste. First introduced in 1954, the company's top-selling STOUFFER'S® Macaroni & Cheese is now available in a variety made with whole grain, introduced in the Farmers' Harvest™ range.
In addition, classic STOUFFER'S® Macaroni & Cheese has decreased sodium levels of its 20 oz. and 12 oz. packages from 920 mg per serving to 820 mg per serving (from 38%DV to 34% DV, an average decrease of 10 percent) since 2005. The average sodium level for the entire range of STOUFFER'S® meals is now at 876 mg (36.5% DV).
The changes to sodium content were made gradually, since consumer research consistently has shown that consumers often associate sodium reduction with reduced flavor. With this approach of stepwise, moderate reductions, Nestle has managed to avoid negative reactions as well as helping consumers gradually adapt their taste for salt, making their choices more likely to last.
"We've taken a 'slow but steady' approach to updating our Macaroni & Cheese," Alford recalled. "We wanted to make this change in a way that consumers would adapt to easily and enjoyably. As it turns out, 'slow and steady' has been a successful approach in transitioning this American favorite to this new sodium level."
STOUFFER'S® is not the only brand within the Nestle Prepared Foods Company roster to gradually decrease sodium levels over the years. LEAN CUISINE® was introduced to the American marketplace in 1981 with 10 products; average sodium levels were then at or above 1,000 mg. Today, LEAN CUISINE® offers 123 varieties with an average sodium level of 606 mg (25% DV).
Within the LEAN CUISINE® line, fifteen SPA CUISINE™ and eight new MARKET CREATIONS items all contain 1/2 cup vegetables (2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals 1/2 cup). Fifteen LEAN CUISINE® items are made with 100% whole grain pasta. Ten varieties of LEAN CUISINE® feature seafood, which provides an excellent source of omega-3.*
From its Denver-based business, Nestle offers 69 handheld products marketed under HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches. These convenient items also have benefited from gradual sodium reduction strategies which began in 2005. Current average sodium content across these products is 610 mg per serving (25% DV). As well, LEAN POCKETS® now offers eight varieties featuring whole grain crusts.
BUITONI® Refrigerated Pastas also have heeded consumer requests for tasty and nutritious choices. In 2005, when the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended that Americans consume more whole grains, BUITONI® invited consumers to try their whole wheat ravioli, linguine and tortellini varieties.
"As part of the world's largest food company, our Nestle businesses have access to a depth of knowledge and expertise that is unmatched," said Alford. "Working with Nestle S.A., we have established Nutrition Foundations for our key brands and used the guidance provided by the Nestle S.A. policies on sodium, sugar, and trans fat to shape the product development work at Nestle Prepared Foods Company. We are pleased to be able to offer American favorites that deliver delicious taste and thoughtful nutrition in every bite."
About Nestle Prepared Food Company
Under the leadership of President and CEO Bob Leonidas, Nestle Prepared Foods Company businesses employ over 9,000 people in their U.S. manufacturing facilities and headquarter sites. With a focus on convenient, nutritious and delicious meals, sandwiches and snacks, Nestle Prepared Foods Company is the maker of America's most popular frozen food brands including: STOUFFER'S®, LEAN CUISINE® , HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches and BUITONI® refrigerated pastas and sauces, also a category leader. Its Nestle Baking business includes well-known brands including NestlE® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, Baking Ingredients and Refrigerated Cookie and Brownie Dough; NestlE® CARNATION® Milks, and LIBBY'S® Pumpkin.
With the upcoming release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Nestle Prepared Foods Company will again be ready with a range of nourishing choices that help consumers achieve a balance between taste and nutrition. Likewise, the company will continue to strive for leadership in consumer education with an increased focus on "front-of-package" nutritional information that complements the standard nutrition labeling and the proprietary Nestle Nutritional Compass, which appears on product packaging representing 98% of total Nestle sales volume around the world.(1)
Nestle is also a proud member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation(2), a coalition of more than 100 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, non-governmental organizations and professional sports organizations assembled to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. As such, the company is committed to build upon its existing efforts with products, packaging and labeling that make it easier for consumers to manage their calorie intake while preserving or enhancing overall nutrition quality. For more information on Nestle's commitment to "Good Food, Good Life," or on any of the products mentioned, please visit www.nestleusa.com.
About Nestle USA
Named one of "The World's Most Admired Food Companies" in Fortune magazine for thirteen consecutive years, Nestle provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with Lean Cuisine® to baking traditions with NestlE® Toll House®, Nestle USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that enrich the very experience of life itself. That's what "Nestle. Good Food, Good Life" is all about.
Well-known Nestle brands include: NestlE® Toll House®, NestlE® Nesquik®, NestlE® Coffee-mate®, Stouffer's®, Lean Cuisine®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches, NescafE®, NescafE® Taster's Choice®, NESTLE® Juicy Juice®, Buitoni®, DREYER'S/EDY'S®, NestlE® Crunch®, NestlE® Butterfinger®, Wonka®, DIGIORNO®, TOMBSTONE® and CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® frozen pizza.
Nestle USA, with 2009 sales of $10.4 billion, is part of Nestle S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world's largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2009 sales of $99 billion. For product news and information, visit Nestleusa.com or NestleNewsroom.com.
All trademarks are owned by Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.
* The LEAN CUISINE® seafood varieties contain a minimum of 50 mg DHA & EPA combined per serving, which is 31% of the 160 mg Daily Value for omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA.
(1) Nestle Nutritional Compass: Nestle web site. Creating Shared Value case studies. http://www.nestle.com/CSV/CSVinAction/AllCaseStudies/NestleNutritionalCompass.htm
(2) Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation: press release, Oct. 5, 2009 "Nestle USA Partners with Retailers, Food and Beverage Industry To Launch National Obesity Campaign" (link: http://www.nestleusa.com/PubNews/PressReleaseLibraryDetails.aspx?id=720110c9-5cc4-454e-a0ef-97489fc55a6e.)
SOURCE Nestle USA