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Bloomberg reports that First Lady Michelle Obama’s “lobbying of companies to make products healthier, labels easier to read and limit marketing of unhealthy foods to kids is paying off. A month after she began her campaign, PepsiCo Inc., the world’s second-largest food and beverage company, pledged to stop selling full-sugar soft drinks in schools by 2012. Kraft Foods Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Oscar Mayer lunch meats, announced it would further reduce the sodium content of its products.”

General Mills also has announced that by 2015 it will cut the amount of sodium by 20 percent in roughly 40 percent of its cereals, soups, snacks and other products; it also has promised to cut the sugar in the products it makes that are marketed to children.

And, the news service, says, the First Lady has a highly placed champion: “Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House adviser, said President Barack Obama has lent his support. After a Feb. 4 White House lunch with business leaders, the president pulled aside Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Co. Chief Executive Officer David Mackay and Minneapolis based General Mills Inc. CEO Ken Powell and prodded them to take part in his wife’s campaign, Jarrett said.”
KC's View:
While some say that companies are only responding to the First Lady because of concerns that resistance will result in greater federal regulation, I’m not sure that this is entirely fair - after all, it is not entirely clear to me what the downside is of making products healthier or at least less deleterious to people’s health.