CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - Campbell Soup Co. said Monday that it will cut the amount of sodium in its SpaghettiOs canned pastas by up to 35 percent, as food makers increasingly try to make healthier products for children.
Last week General Mills, which makes Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs, announced that it planed to lower the amount of sugar in its cereals marketed to children.
Many food companies have been increasingly watched by consumers, regulators and health groups over the nutritional value of their products as the U.S. continues to battle a growing childhood obesity problem.
"Changing the recipe of SpaghettiOs comes on the heels of reducing sodium in our condensed kids soups to healthy levels. It's also consistent with our commitment to advertise only sound food choices to children," Sean Connolly, president of Campbell's U.S. soups, sauces and beverages, said in a statement.
Campbell, based in Camden, N.J., said its SpaghettiOs action is the second time in two years that it is lowering the sodium level of the pasta product. Several reduced sodium versions of SpaghettiOs -- including SpaghettiOs Original and SpaghettiOs A to Z's -- can be found in stores starting in April, with the remainder of the lines products hitting shelves with lower sodium levels in July.
The sodium cut will bring SpaghettiOs in line with Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture requirements for main dishes that are suitable for children. To meet these requirements, food products must be controlled for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and containing a significant level of at least two positive nutrients.
Campbell has cut the sodium level in more than 100 of its products - including V8 juices, Prego sauces, Pepperidge Farm breads and its namesake soups - by 25 percent to 50 percent over the past four years.
The company's stock added 6 cents to $34.86 in midday trading.