Kraft Strikes Deal to Use 'South Beach' Trademark

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) said Wednesday it struck a deal to use the South Beach Diet's (search) trademark to appeal to dieters watching carbohydrate intake.

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft, the largest North American food maker, said it would use the trademark on foods for people following the South Beach Diet program.

South Beach, often viewed as a more moderate version of the Atkins Diet (search), eschews processed foods such as white bread and flour in favor of complex grains, vegetables, low-fat cheeses, lean meats and other lean protein.

Kraft declined to say which foods would carry the new label, "South Beach Diet Recommended" or when the foods would reach grocers' shelves.

Terms of the multiyear agreement with the diet's author, Dr. Arthur Agatston (search), were not disclosed. Agatston's first book, "The South Beach Diet," has been a New York Times bestseller for more than 53 weeks. He recently published a new book, "The South Beach Diet Cookbook."

"We actually approached Dr. Agatston," said Kraft spokeswoman Kathy Knuth. "We're looking for innovative new ways to make weight management easier and more enjoyable."

Kraft makes a variety of foods that may be considered compatible with the diet, including several low-fat cheeses under the Kraft label, some cold cuts under the Oscar Mayer name and Boca meat alternatives.

Kraft is one of several food makers seeking ways to reposition its foods as healthier amid a growing U.S. obesity crisis, where 64 percent of adults in the United States are considered overweight.

Earlier in June, Kraft backed away from a pledge made two years ago to trim portion sizes of some of its foods. Instead, the company is opting to more clearly label portion sizes on smaller containers with more than one serving.

Shares of Kraft fell 7 cents to $30.63 in New York Stock Exchange (search) trading.