Nutrition for sale: How Kellogg worked with 'independent experts' to tout cereal
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
Posted: December 19th, 2016
On its website, Kellogg touted a distinguished-sounding "Breakfast Council" of "independent experts" who helped guide its nutritional efforts. Nowhere did it say this: The maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes paid the experts and fed them talking points. The company paid the experts an average of $13,000 a year, prohibited them from offering media services for products "competitive or negative to cereal" and required them to engage in "nutrition influencer outreach" on social media or with colleagues, and report back on their efforts. For Kellogg, the breakfast council - in existence between 2011 and this year - deftly blurred the lines between cereal promotion and impartial nutrition guidance. The company used the council to teach a continuing education class for dietitians, publish an academic paper on breakfast, and try to influence the government's dietary guidelines. One of the breakfast council's most notable achievements was publishing a paper defining a "quality breakfast" in a nutrition journal. Kellogg touted the paper in its newsletter as being written by "our independent nutrition experts." Dietitians could earn continuing education credits from the publisher for taking a quiz about the paper. Kellogg didn't describe its own role in overseeing editing and providing feedback, such as asking for the removal of a line saying a recommendation that added sugar be limited to 25 percent of calories might be "too high."