The Kellogg Co.’s purpose is simple: To nourish families so they can flourish and thrive. That was the message delivered in the company’s 2016/2017 Corporate Responsibility Report issued June 5.
“Since our founding, we’ve striven to be a responsible corporate citizen,” John Bryant, chairman and chief executive officer, said in the report. “We understand that the decisions we make have far-reaching consequences, and we work hard to make a positive impact on the people and places we touch. For example, we’ve surpassed our goals to reduce the sugar and sodium in our cereals, and we continue removing artificial colors and flavors from our foods. We also are especially proud to be ranked as the top U.S.-based company on the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark for our dedication to protecting and advancing the cause of human rights throughout our operations and value chain.”
In its cereals business, Kellogg has achieved or exceeded a number of its commitments first set forth in 2008. The company said that at the end of 2016 it had reduced overall sodium content in its ready-to-eat cereals by 44%, up from 33% in 2015 and ahead of its 2020 goal of 30%. The company also has reached 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 2016, the company said 88% of its R.-T.-E. cereals met the mark, up from 84% in 2015 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 90% of its cereals met the criteria, up from 87% in 2015 and up from 77% in 2007.
In the company’s snacks business, Kellogg in 2016 developed three commitments it hopes to achieve by 2020: Include one or more positive nutrients or ingredients in every snack food in the convenient nutrition category; reduce sugar on average by 10% per serving, excluding fruit, in convenient nutrition snacks; and make at least 85% of convenient nutrition snacks 150 or fewer mg of sodium per serving. Kellogg said it will begin reporting on its progress in those areas in its 2017/2018 report.
One commitment area that Kellogg has achieved its goal in snacks is to ensure that at least 75% of its cracker portfolio has 230 mg or less of sodium per serving.
Sourcing responsibly is another priority for Kellogg. The company said by 2020 it has committed to responsibly sourcing its 10 priority ingredients: cocoa, sugar cane, vanilla, palm, corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, beet and fruit. Through 2016, Kellogg said more than 70 priority ingredient suppliers are engaged in measuring continuous improvement or investment in sourcing communities.
“The quality of the ingredients in our foods are measured in different ways by different people,” Kellogg noted in the report. “Some focus on taste, others focus on nutrition profile, yet others focus on convenience. All of them are important. We also — like more people today — care deeply about how our ingredients are grown, where they come from and the people who grow them. That’s why we’ve committed to responsibly sourcing 10 priority ingredients by 2020. We believe we can have the greatest impact by concentrating our work on the farmers who grow these ingredients. Our intent is to support continuous sustainable agriculture improvements in the growing practices of farmers in the regions from which we source.”
Kellogg also is more than halfway to its goal of improving sustainable agriculture by enabling 500,000 farmers to implement more sustainable farming practices using climate smart agriculture. At the end of 2016, Kellogg said its efforts had reached 294,000 farmers.