Footprint, Sodexo & PHE host roundtable event to discuss the government’s approach to childhood obesity

Footprint, Sodexo & Public Health England (PHE) hosted a roundtable event and  to discuss the reduction and reformulation agenda for food suppliers in the UK.

PHE presented the government’s plans to achieve a 20% reduction in calories by 2024 in products that contribute significantly to intakes. Based on achieving the aims within 5 years, the programme would prevent 35,370 premature deaths, save the NHS £4.5 billion in healthcare costs, and save social care costs of around £4.48 billion.

Public Health England’s obesity report found that there has been a significant rise in meals being eaten out of the home in recent years, which tends to be associated with higher intakes of sugar, fat and salt as well as bigger portion sizes. The increasing consumption of out-of-home meals has been identified as an important factor contributing to rising levels of obesity.

Around 30 companies from across the out-of-home catering sector attended the event, including BaxterStorey, Compass, Starbucks, Nestle, Unilever and Waitrose & Partners. Participants discussed the issues and challenges around reducing salt, sugar and overall calories in out-of-home meals.

Dr. Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist & Deputy Director – Diet, Obesity and Physical Activity, Public Health England, said: “It’s encouraging having so many businesses around the table – keeping the conversation open is a crucial part in tackling the nation’s obesity crisis.

“Eating out is the norm, businesses in this sector have a critical role to play when looking at the foods we eat and how we consume them.”

Wan Mak, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sodexo, said: “At Sodexo, we constantly work with our suppliers to source and reformulate foods that helps to reduce the levels of sugar, salt and fat content of our foods as well as the overall calorie content. We regularly review, refresh and nutritionally analyse these.

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