Kellogg ups commitment to corporate responsibility

by Eric Schroeder
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Kellogg cereal, Eggo waffles, no artificial ingredients
Kellogg has set a goal to remove artificial flavors and colors from its Kellogg’s branded cereals and Eggo frozen foods by the end of 2018.

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — Calling itself a company with “heart and soul,” The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, said it has taken its commitment to corporate responsibility to the next level, making progress across the marketplace, environment, community and workplace.

John Bryant, Kellogg
John Bryant, chairman and c.e.o. of Kellogg

“In 2015, we introduced many new foods that give consumers more of what they need and want, and less of what they don’t,” John Bryant, chairman and chief executive officer, said in the company’s 2015/2016 Corporate Responsibility Update issued June 2. “We set a goal to remove artificial flavors and colors from our Kellogg’s branded cereals, a variety of Kellogg’s branded snack bars and Eggo frozen foods by the end of 2018. We also continued to make progress on our Global Breakfast Food Beliefs work, which includes reducing sugar and sodium in our cereal portfolio.”

To achieve its goal, Kellogg said it plans to change approximately 80 product recipes by the end of 2018. But the company also acknowledged that some recipe changes may take longer to complete than others.

Kellogg Global Breakfast Food Beliefs
Kellogg made progress on its Global Breakfast Food Beliefs work, which includes reducing sugar and sodium in its cereal portfolio.

“We want to find the best solutions that meet consumer expectations for the taste and quality they’ve come to love from their favorite Kellogg’s foods,” the company noted in the report.

Already in North America, Kellogg said 75% of its cereals are made without artificial colors, and more than half are made without artificial flavors. The company plans to add new colors and flavors from a variety of sources, including fruits, vegetables and spices. The company also is putting new guidelines in place for new product development.

Ahead on sodium, sugar goals

Kellogg sodium reduction chart
Kellogg has reduced overall sodium content in its ready-to-eat cereals by 33%.

Digging deeper into Kellogg’s efforts to reduce sugar and sodium, the company noted in the report that at the end of 2015 it had reduced overall sodium content in its ready-to-eat cereals by 33%, up from 29% in 2014 and ahead of its 2020 goal of 30%. The company said it still has a little ways to go on the second half of its sodium goal: achieving 85% of R.-T.-E. cereals with 150 mg or less of sodium per 30 gram serving. In 2015, the company said 84% of its R.-T.-E. cereals met the mark, up from 82% in 2014 and up from 63% in 2007.

Another reduction target set for 2020 is 90% of cereals with 10 grams or less of sugar per 30-gram serving. Kellogg noted in the report that 87% of its cereals met the criteria at the end of 2015, up from 85% in 2014 and up from 77% in 2007.

Kellogg sugar reduction chart
Kellogg said 87% of its cereals met the sugar criteria at the end of 2015.

Taking stock of environmental goals

The year 2015 marked a milestone in Kellogg’s sustainability journey, as it denoted the end of the company’s first generation of environmental goals. Taking stock of its 2015 goals that were first set in 2008, Kellogg said it has performed well.

The company set out to reduce its facilities’ energy use, greenhouse gas emissions (G.H.G.) and water use by 15% to 20% compared with 2005, and to cut its waste sent to landfill by 20% compared with 2005.

Kellogg said it met the waste goal in one year, and promptly set another goal to achieve an additional 20% reduction in waste to landfill from 2009 to 2015. The company said it achieved the second goal as well, for a total decrease of 62% since 2005.

Pringles, Kellogg
Making Pringles requires twice as much energy and more than 70% more water than making other Kellogg products.

Progress toward achieving its energy, G.H.G. and water goals has been more challenging, mostly because the company acquired the Pringles brand in 2012, halfway through the goal period.

“Making Pringles requires twice as much energy and more than 70% more water than making other Kellogg products, and the addition of a new Pringles production plant further affected our energy and water use,” the company noted in the report. “Still, we were able to make good progress toward our normalized energy, G.H.G. and water goals. We reduced energy use by 6%, G.H.G. emissions by 11% and water use by 7% compared to our 2005 baseline.”

On an absolute basis, including the Pringles data, Kellogg said it reduced energy use by 8%, G.H.G. emissions by 14% and water use by 10%. The company said it is further prioritizing capital plans that will help drive energy, G.H.G. and water reductions, with a specific focus on Pringles plants. 
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