UK soft drinks and snacks giant, Cadbury Schweppes, could be at risk of being sued by consumers claiming that its products contribute to obesity.
A research report by JP Morgan said the maker of Dairy Milk chocolate, Dr Pepper and Slush Puppie, ranks second only to America's Hershey corporation in a league table compiled by the US investment bank of food producers exposed to obesity-related lawsuits.
The report in The Independent said growing concerns that the food industry will go the same way as tobacco and face a barrage of crippling damages claims forced Kraft to announce that it is cutting the amount of fat and sugar in its products and reducing the size of portions.
The JP Morgan research says that the rise in obesity to "epidemic" proportions, with more than 1 billion of the world's population overweight, poses a serious threat to the food industry.
It increases the risk that advertising, labelling, and distribution will be more tightly regulated and it will force manufacturers to overhaul their marketing practices and spend more on consumer education and research.