WASHINGTON, May 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Dannon Company today announced substantial progress across all four components of its nutrition commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). This includes improvements in the nutrient profile and nutrient density of its products, as well as more than $2 million invested in nutrition research and education since the beginning of the three-year commitment in July 2013. The progress announcement was made during the 2016 Building a Healthier Future Summit hosted by PHA.
The announcement comes more than halfway through the company's three-year commitment, on the heels of the release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) and at a time when many Americans are looking to food manufacturers to provide more nutritious options.
"Our responsibility to support health for all is central to everything we do," said Mariano Lozano, Dannon President and CEO. "As the nation's leading yogurt maker, our commitment to PHA represents how industry can play a role in improving the lives of consumers, as encouraged in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Our steadfast dedication to achieving our ambitious PHA commitment is just the beginning of Dannon's work to help improve the diet of Americans, which includes encouraging them to eat one yogurt every day."
Dannon reported progress across four categories of its commitment that nutritionists, public health experts and the 2015 DGAs identify as crucial for improving Americans' dietary patterns – consuming more nutrient-dense foods, reducing sugar and fat intake, and supporting nutrition research and education. Additionally, one of the key strengths of the three nutrition indicators of its commitment is that achievement is based on the actual volume of products sold, meaning the progress made reflects the improved nutritional quality of the products that are selected and enjoyed by consumers.
Exceeded sugar reduction target for overall portfolio
As part of its commitment, Dannon pledged to reduce the amount of total sugar to 23 grams or less per 6-ounce serving in 100 percent of products for children and 70 percent of the company's products overall by the end of the three-year period. By the end of the second year of its commitment, Dannon maintained its first year achievement of 76 percent of products sold at or below 23 grams per 6-ounce serving.
Building on year one results, the company has also made further progress toward its goal for children's products, with 93 percent of children's products sold compliant at the end of year two. The recent addition of Danimals® Squeezables Lowfat yogurt pouches for kids was a notable product introduction that contributed to its progress toward meeting this goal.
Exceeded goal in fat reduction
Dannon committed to reduce the amount of fat across products, so that 75 percent of its products sold will be nonfat or low fat. At the end of year two, Dannon exceeded that goal, with 83 percent of products compliant with the standards for fat agreed to with PHA. Dannon's expanded product portfolio, including the consistently popular Light & Fit ® Greek Nonfat yogurt, was a major contributor to achieving its fat reduction goal.
Significant progress toward nutrient density goals
Dannon committed to a 10 percent improvement in nutrient density across its portfolio by increasing key nutrients and decreasing total sugar and fat. At the end of year two, the company reported a five percent gain in nutrient density versus baseline and is confident it will reach its 10 percent goal by the end of the commitment. Dannon's expanded product portfolio, including its popular Oikos® Triple Zero Greek Nonfat yogurt - containing zero added sugars1, zero artificial sweeteners and zero fat – was a key contributor to this progress.
Invested more than $2 million in nutrition education and research
Dannon committed to invest $3 million in nutrition education and research focused on healthy eating habits over the course of the three years. With more than $2 million invested to-date, Dannon has developed, fostered and grown important education programs. These programs have included Dannon's work with Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition counselors and consumers on the benefits of low fat and nonfat yogurt, engagement with school foodservice leaders regarding yogurt's role in school breakfast and lunch programs, partnerships with esteemed organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and continued communication about important topics, such as health equity, with leading influencers and experts in nutrition.
"The importance of education and research cannot be overstated. In alignment with our mission, we are committed to continuing our investments in behavior change and educational programs that make a positive impact," said Philippe Caradec, Dannon Vice President of Corporate Affairs. "As we look ahead to an increasingly diverse population in America, we are constantly challenging ourselves to focus on health equity and share the ways that yogurt can play an important role for many different people – including minority populations, children and aging adults."
Dannon's commitment goals are based on the latest nutrition science and guidance from the National Academies' Health and Medicine Division (HMD) – formerly the Institute of Medicine – and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to the strong foundation of the commitments, Dannon's progress is verified by PHA's third party verifier.
"We are proud of our progress, and we are confident that all of our three-year commitments will be achieved in the year ahead," said Lozano. "We are also proud to stand alongside PHA and applaud the continued efforts of the organization and First Lady Michelle Obama. There has never been a more important time for the public and private sector to come together to inspire a healthier America, and we know there is more work to be done. We are constantly working to develop new solutions that will help us further improve the nutritional profile of our products while never sacrificing on taste."
For the third consecutive year, Dannon is participating in PHA's Building a Healthier Future Summit, and for the second consecutive year is sponsoring the "Yogurt Power Lunch" and exhibiting in the Expo Hall. The lunch will feature delicious recipes that showcase the versatility of cooking with and enjoying yogurt every day. Recipes from the lunch, along with information about how yogurt can be incorporated into dietary patterns recommended in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, will be available at the Dannon booth.
"We know that encouraging healthy eating is paramount in the fight to end the childhood obesity crisis. Working with partners like Dannon, we are creating more opportunities for busy parents and families around the country to have healthier options where they eat, live and play. Dannon has been an exemplary partner, and we are so pleased with their progress against their goals," said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler.
PHA is expected to release its yearly progress report for all commitment partners, assessed by an independent verifier, on May 18, 2016. Details about the Dannon commitment with PHA are available here.
About The Dannon Company
Headquartered in White Plains, New York, The Dannon Company has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, West Jordan, UT, and Portland, OR, which make more than 200 different flavors, styles and sizes of cultured refrigerated and frozen dairy products to serve its retail and foodservice customers. Dannon brings health through food to as many people as possible via its diverse offering of delicious and wholesome yogurts. Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, and Dannon is the top-selling brand of yogurt worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone. For more information, visit www.dannon.com.
About The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)
The Partnership for a Healthier America is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation's youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation's most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
1 *Not a low calorie food
SOURCE The Dannon Company