The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF’s) members have reduced the amount of sugar and salt in an average consumer’s basket of shopping over the past five years, according to a new report.
Published today (Monday 14 May), the report – Feeding Change – found that sugars in an average grocery shop had fallen by 12.1%, while salt had dropped by 11.4%.
The FDF attributed the reductions to 15 years of work in reformulating food and drink products, as well as limiting portion sizes and innovation into healthier options.
Katie Halliwell, FDF head of UK diet and health policy, said the report provided a snapshot into the work the organisation’s members had done to improve the nation’s diet.
‘A role to play’
“FDF and its members recognise they have a role to play in tackling obesity, but we cannot do it alone,” said Halliwell.
“Through continued collaboration with governments across the UK and other industry stakeholders, we are committed to being part of the solution and to improving the nation’s diet – and our commitment is demonstrated in this new report.”
The report also claimed that the FDF’s members had reduced the amount of energy in calories in the nation’s shopping basket by 5.5%.
It also contained case studies from a number of FDF members – including Premier Foods, Coca-Cola and Jordans & Ryvita – and the work they were doing to reformulate their products. You can view the full report here.
Called for collaboration
In a foreword to the report, FDF chief executive Ian Wright called for collaboration between food companies and the government to help fight obesity.
“For many years, food and drink manufacturers have been active participants in the fight against obesity. We will be for many years to come. It cannot be solved without us; though we cannot solve it alone.
“The pace of this work is accelerating. It can be seen on every supermarket shelf whether by way of reformulation – changing the recipes of products – or in changing to more appropriate portion sizes.”
However, Sonia Pombo, campaign manager at pressure group Action on Salt, said: “This report has very little mention of the more recent 2017 salt targets, or whether companies have been able to achieve them, which is very disappointing to see.
“This highlights more than ever the need for stricter monitoring and enforcement from Public Health England which we’ve been campaiging for. If companies are failing to continue in their salt reduction journey voluntarily, then government must consider legislation.”
Last month saw the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – also known as the sugar tax – come into effect, with manufacturers forced to either reformulate their products or face paying tax on drinks with a higher sugar content.
We talked to members of the industry to find out the real impact of the levy.
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