Kraft Foods plans fight obesity and stave off lawsuits through new marketing practices and guidelines to cap portion sizes of single serve packages.

Kraft Foods, with brands such as cheese snacks Dairylea Dunkables, Toblerone chocolate and Maxwell House coffee, has assembled a team of specialists in obesity, nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle education to help it implement the initiative.

The move has been prompted by a number of litigation cases whereby food makers have been blamed for the apparent obesity epidemic Stateside.

Guidelines will be given for all advertising practices and marketing for children, to encourage healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles. Kraft hopes to introduce the new standards and measures by the start of 2004 and expects the new policies to take two to three years to complete.

Kraft Foods spokeswoman Betsy Holden said: “Just as obesity has many causes, it can be solved only if all sectors of society do their part to help.

“Kraft is committed to product choices and marketing practices that will help encourage healthy lifestyles and make it easier to eat and live better.”