New STOUFFER’S® Farmers’ Harvest™ Spearheads Multi-Brand Initiative
Nestlé Prepared Foods Company has announced a comprehensive plan to decrease the sodium content in its products by another 10 percent from reductions made earlier this decade. This major initiative will carry through 2015 and includes the company’s popular STOUFFER’S®, LEAN CUISINE®, BUITONI®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brands which will undergo gradual but steady recipe changes in order to bring down sodium levels without impacting taste.
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“We’re dedicated to helping people improve their overall wellness by providing convenient, wholesome and delicious foods. Adjusting our sodium levels is part of this broader effort and an initiative we’ve been working on steadily for years,” said Brad Alford, Chairman & CEO of Nestlé USA. “Our goal moving forward is to continue to reduce sodium gradually, while creating ever-more wholesome and delicious foods that contribute to healthier lifestyles. That’s what we mean by ‘Good Food, Good Life’”.
New Ingredients, Classic Flavors
The most recent example of the company’s ongoing efforts to provide sound nutrition balanced with great taste are STOUFFER’S® Farmers’ Harvest™ meals, to be available nationally by year’s end. The Farmers’ Harvest™ portfolio includes three new family size meals and seven new individual servings of classic but updated favorites like Macaroni & Cheese and Lasagna.
Taste is assured by the use of high-quality ingredients such as sea salt, olive oil and real cheese. Whole grains are featured in eight of the recipes while four of the individual meals feature ½ cup of vegetables. (The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals ½ cup.) Sodium content for these ten varieties ranges from 660-950 mg (28% - 40% DV or Percent Daily Value).
“We developed Farmers’ Harvest™ after listening closely to consumers,” Alford said. “These days, more and more, people realize the importance of eating more whole grains, more vegetables. Of course, they don’t want to give up flavor or enjoyment at mealtimes. Farmers’ Harvest™ lets them have both.”
Updating a Classic Modernizing Macaroni & Cheese is another way that Nestlé has improved the nutritional profile and sodium content of its offerings, while still assuring taste. First introduced in 1954, the company’s top-selling STOUFFER’S® Macaroni & Cheese is now available in a variety made with whole grain, introduced in the Farmers’ Harvest™ range.
In addition, classic STOUFFER’S® Macaroni & Cheese has decreased sodium levels of its 20 oz. and 12 oz. packages from 920 mg per serving to 820 mg per serving (from 38%DV to 34% DV, an average decrease of 10 percent) since 2005. The average sodium level for the entire range of STOUFFER’S® meals is now at 876 mg (36.5% DV).
The changes to sodium content were made gradually, since consumer research consistently has shown that consumers often associate sodium reduction with reduced flavor. With this approach of stepwise, moderate reductions, Nestlé has managed to avoid negative reactions as well as helping consumers gradually adapt their taste for salt, making their choices more likely to last.
“We’ve been able to consistently reduce sodium and keep the same great taste by working closely with our chefs,” Alford, recalled. “We look at the total recipe and ask ‘Where can we infuse more flavor?’ so that when we take the sodium out over time, consumers don’t notice the difference. This way, they can adapt easily and enjoyably.”
Continuous Improvements STOUFFER’S® is not the only brand within the Nestlé Prepared Foods Company roster to gradually decrease sodium levels over the years. LEAN CUISINE® was introduced to the American marketplace in 1981 with 10 products; average sodium levels were then at or above 1,000 mg. Today, LEAN CUISINE® offers 123 varieties with an average sodium level of 606 mg (25% DV).
Within the LEAN CUISINE® line, fifteen SPA CUISINE™ and eight new MARKET CREATIONS items all contain ½ cup vegetables (2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals ½ cup). Fifteen LEAN CUISINE® items are made with 100% whole grain pasta. Ten varieties of LEAN CUISINE® feature seafood, which provides an excellent source of omega-3.*
From its Denver-based business, Nestlé offers 69 handheld products marketed under HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches. These convenient items also have benefited from gradual sodium reduction strategies which began in 2005. Current average sodium content across these products is 610 mg per serving (25% DV). As well, LEAN POCKETS® now offers eight varieties featuring whole grain crusts.
BUITONI® Refrigerated Pastas also have heeded consumer requests for tasty and nutritious choices. In 2005, when the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended that Americans consume more whole grains, BUITONI® invited consumers to try their whole wheat ravioli, linguine and tortellini varieties.
"We believe what makes Nestlé special is our tremendous scope of talent and expertise,” Alford said. “We have teams of culinary professionals who help us create authentic, flavorful dishes. We also have deep scientific knowledge that we use to establish Nutrition Foundations for our key brands. Together, this enables us to offer American favorites that deliver delicious taste and thoughtful nutrition in every bite.”
About Nestlé Prepared Food Company
Nestlé Prepared Foods Company businesses employ over 9,000 people in their U.S. manufacturing facilities and headquarter sites. With a focus on convenient, nutritious and delicious meals, sandwiches and snacks, Nestlé Prepared Foods Company is the maker of America’s most popular frozen food brands including: STOUFFER’S®, LEAN CUISINE® , HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches and BUITONI® refrigerated pastas and sauces, also a category leader. Its Nestlé Baking business includes well-known brands including Nestlé® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, Baking Ingredients and Refrigerated Cookie and Brownie Dough; Nestlé® CARNATION® Milks, and LIBBY’S® Pumpkin.
With the upcoming release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Nestlé Prepared Foods Company will again be ready with a range of nourishing choices that help consumers achieve a balance between taste and nutrition. Likewise, the company will continue to strive for leadership in consumer education with an increased focus on “front-of-package” nutritional information that complements the standard nutrition labeling and the proprietary Nestlé Nutritional Compass, which appears on product packaging representing 98% of total Nestlé sales volume around the world.
Nestlé is also a proud member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a coalition of more than 100 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, non-governmental organizations and professional sports organizations assembled to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. As such, the company is committed to build upon its existing efforts with products, packaging and labeling that make it easier for consumers to manage their calorie intake while preserving or enhancing overall nutrition quality. For more information on Nestlé’s commitment to “Good Food, Good Life,” or on any of the products mentioned, please visit www.nestleusa.com.
About Nestlé USA
Named one of “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for fourteen consecutive years, Nestlé provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with Lean Cuisine® to baking traditions with Nestlé® Toll House®, Nestlé USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that make good living possible. That’s what “Nestlé. Good Food, Good Life” is all about. Well-known Nestlé USA brands include: Nestlé® Toll House®, Nestlé® Nesquik®, Nestlé® Coffee-mate®, Stouffer’s®, Lean Cuisine®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches, Nescafé®, NESTLÉ® Juicy Juice®, Buitoni®, DREYER’S/EDY’S®, Nestlé® Crunch®, Nestlé® Butterfinger®, Wonka®, DIGIORNO®, TOMBSTONE® and CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® frozen pizza. Nestlé USA, with 2010 sales of $10.4 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2010 sales of $105 billion.* The LEAN CUISINE® seafood varieties contain a minimum of 50 mg DHA & EPA combined per serving, which is 31% of the 160 mg Daily Value for omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA.
 Nestlé Nutritional Compass: Nestlé web site. Creating Shared Value case studies. http://www.nestle.com/CSV/CSVinAction/AllCaseStudies/NestleNutritionalCompass.htm
 Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation: press release, Oct. 5, 2009 “Nestlé USA Partners with Retailers, Food and Beverage Industry To Launch National Obesity Campaign” (link: http://www.nestleusa.com/pubnews/pressreleaselibrarydetails?id=720110c9-5cc4-454e-a0ef-97489fc55a6e.)
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- Roz O’Hearn, Nestlé Prepared Foods Company, (440) 264-5170, [email protected]
- Mike Durand, Publicis Consultants, 206-270-4628