On its website, Kellogg touted a distinguished-sounding “Breakfast Council” of “independent experts” who helped guide its nutritional efforts.
Nowhere did it say this: The maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes paid the experts and fed them talking points, according to a copy of a contract and emails obtained by The Associated Press.
The company paid the experts an average of $13,000 a year, prohibited them from offering media services for products “competitive or negative to cereal” and required them to engage in “nutrition influencer outreach” on social media or with colleagues, and report back on their efforts.
For Kellogg, the breakfast council — in existence between 2011 and this year — deftly blurred the lines between cereal promotion and impartial nutrition guidance. The company used the council to teach a continuing education class for dietitians, publish an academic paper on breakfast and try to influence the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines.