The Walt Disney Company, seeing profit in America's current child obesity pandemic, has signed a partnership deal with the Kroger Company, the nation's top traditional grocery retailer with around 2,400 outlets coast-to-coast.

Later this year Kroger's shelves will fill with over one hundred Disney-branded food products with 'healthy eating' connotations: packaged fresh fruits plus staples such as peanut butter, pasta and granola bars with a higher percentage of nutritional ingredients.

The Disney Magic Selections product range will have low or zero trans-fat content and aims to be 100% trans-fat free by the end of 2007. Instore marketing will feature Mickey Mouse in the dual role of chef and farmer, while other Disney characters from Toy Story, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles will also feature promotionally.

Not only is the deal is the most wide-ranging yet negotiated with a retailer's private label food range, it also marks Disney's debut as the developer of a line of branded goods - as opposed to its usual role of licensor.

The range will be "affordably priced", according to Disney Consumer Products' food, health and beauty division vp Harry Doman. "We have been closely involved in the product development with them [Kroger]."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff