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A clutch of the largest US food makers, including General Mills, Nestle and PepsiCo, have pledged to cut 1.5 trillion of calories by the end of 2015.

The companies announced the plans yesterday (17 May) as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation coalition, which is headed by Kellogg president and CEO David Mackay.

“Through this effort, the companies that make up the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation will provide consumers with additional healthier food options that help them achieve and maintain a healthy diet,” Mackay said.

The calorie cuts, set to be made through reformulation or the launch of single-serve products, were announced in tandem with The Partnership for a Healthier America, which is chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The First Lady is pushing for food companies to help in the fight to reduce child obesity in the US. Last week, she unveiled a “task force” that called on food manufacturers to curb the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

In February, Mrs Obama launched ‘Let’s Move’, a campaign drawn up to encourage US families to eat more healthily and exercise more.

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By GlobalData

Health campaigners at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has been a vocal supporter of The First Lady’s plans, said yesterday’s announcement from the likes of Nestle and PepsiCo was “sincere and measurable”.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Foundation, said the pledge had “real potential for impact”.

However, Lavizzo-Mourey warned: “What remains unknown is what effect it will have on efforts to prevent childhood obesity. That’s why RWJF has agreed to fund an independent evaluation of how the group’s efforts to reduce calories in the marketplace affect calories consumed by children and adolescents.

“RWJF will support an evaluation by an independent group of scientists who will define the metrics that will be used to track progress and assess the overall impact on children, and we will report the methods and findings publicly.