Tastes Like Chicken

Tuesday, July 01, 2003
_Cry havoc, and let slip the lawyers of nutrition
In response to legal pressure, real and imagined, major US food companies are going on a tear as they reformulate their products, marketing and packaging:
• Kraft Foods, the nation's largest food company, will announce today a sweeping, global overhaul of the way it creates, packages and promotes its foods. Kraft plans to reduce the portion size, fat and calories of many of its foods, a move that other major food companies worldwide are expected to mimic. "This will force everyone else to review their policies and get on board," says Derek Yach, coordinator of diet and physical activity at the powerful World Health Organization.

• McDonald's this summer will test a Happy Meal with an option to replace the wildly popular — but fat-filled — french fries with a bag of fresh, sliced fruit.

• Frito-Lay is within weeks of eliminating all artery-clogging trans fatty acids from its chips and snacks. And the CEO of its parent company, PepsiCo, has vowed that at least half of its new foods and beverages will be aimed at nutrition-conscious consumers.

• Kellogg recently bought Kashi, whose cereals have no highly refined sugars or preservatives.
The article also touches the mounting criticism of transfat (the recent Oreo lawsuit), and asserts that "Frito-Lay also plans to eliminate artery-clogging trans fatty acids from all of its products by the end of September."

Well, I've tried the new "Naturals" version of Cheetos (safflower oil instead of transfat, less or no coloring) and my reaction was: "meh." They definitely have less flavor punch than the traditional Cheetos. I hope they're using these as a beta product as they transform the main product line, and not as the means of introducing the populace to final version. Don't get me wrong, I ate them, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

This is a pretty detailed article, and I recommend it for those that like to cruise the snack aisle.