Childhood obesity

Lunchables is a line of lunch combinations manufactured by Kraft Foods, Inc, beginning in 1988. They are marketed under the Oscar Mayer brand in the United States and Dairylea in the United Kingdom. Many Lunchables products are produced at Kraft Foods, Inc.’s Fullerton factory in Fullerton, California, and are then distributed across the nation.

A typical Lunchables meal combination includes crackers, small slices of meat, and an equal number of slices of cheese. Other varieties include pizza, small hot dogs, small burgers, nachos, subs, and wraps. Overall there are 25 different kinds of Lunchables meals. ‘Deluxe’ versions, which were originally developed for adults, included two types of meats and two types of cheeses. Deluxe versions usually also contained a sauce and a mint.

A larger version of Lunchables meal combinations called ‘Maxed Out’ (originally ‘Mega packs’) was also available with 40% more food than regular Lunchables, but the ‘Maxed Out’ and ‘Deluxe’ versions are now discontinued. Certain varieties contain Capri Sun juice drinks. Some are traditional flavors while others are the ‘Roarin’ Waters’ variant. Certain varieties have bottled water with Tropical Punch flavored Kool-Aid mix. Certain varieties had cola, but were later replaced with Capri Sun juice drinks. Certain varieties have Jell-O gelatin or pudding.

In 1997, Lunchables came under fire for having high saturated fat and sodium content while being marketed as a healthy children’s meal. For example, a single serving of Ham and Swiss Lunchables contained 1,780 milligrams of salt, which is 47 percent of the recommended daily allowance for an adult. Because of the growing concern of childhood obesity, in 2004 Lunchables in the UK eliminated Capri Sun drinks and mini Dime Bars, and replaced them with orange juice and strawberry yogurt. They also made changes to the standard Reese’s cups that came in Lunchables, they began offering lower calorie candy alternatives. Capri Sun and candy are still available in US Lunchables. As of 2007, eight varieties of Lunchables are considered Sensible Solutions products and exceptionally unhealthy items were no longer included in the packages. Many Lunchables products now contain Airheads, Sour Patch Kids, crispy rice treat, or fruit cups instead of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cola, Nestle Crunch bars, M&Ms,and Kool-Aid Jammers.


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