EXCLUSIVE-Nestle to cut sugar and salt in breakfast cereals
* Pledge to cut 24 pct of sugar, 12 pct of salt in 20 brands
* Change to affect 5.3 bln portions sold outside N. America
* Food and beverage firms under pressure over obesity
* Campaigners say unhealthy cereals still targeted at kids
By Emma Thomasson
ORBE, Switzerland, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Nestle SA and General Mills Inc will cut sugar and salt in the children's breakfast cereals they jointly market outside North America, the latest attempt by major food companies to respond to health concerns.
The two have been in a joint venture since 1990 to sell Nestle-brand cereals such as Cheerios in more than 140 countries outside the United States and Canada, markets which account for about half total global cereal sales of some $25 billion.
They say they will reformulate 20 cereal brands popular with children and teenagers by 2015, boosting wholegrains and calcium and aiming for average reductions of 24 percent in sugar and 12 percent in sodium.
The reformulation will affect about 5.3 billion portions of cereals sold each year. Continued...