SOME OF Scotland’s favourite foods are becoming healthier, thanks to an innovative programme run by the Scottish Government and Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF).
Now in its second year, the programme is helping 26 companies reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in their food.
Yeung’s Chinese Foods in North Lanarkshire and Maclean’s Highland Bakery in Moray are the latest businesses to make their products healthier through the food reformulation programme.
Oatcakes are one of Maclean’s top sellers, and are supplied to retailers across Scotland. Maclean’s have now been able to reduce the amount of salt in their oatcake range by 17 per cent.
Not only do Yeung’s Chinese Foods benefit from a 12 per cent salt reduction in their curry sauce mix, but as their product is used across Scotland by bakers and butchers, they are helping to produce a healthier product for a number of other businesses.
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said: “We are continuing to work hard to make sure that people across Scotland have access to, and can benefit from, healthier versions of their favourite foods.
“These smaller organisations’ achievements should encourage other businesses to follow suit. We can now see that products can be made healthier without any adverse effect on their business.”
“We are committed to improving Scotland’s public health and I’d like to encourage more businesses to get involved with the programme and help to make a real difference to the country’s health.”
Dr Colette Backwell, Director, Scottish Food and Drink Federation, said: “Reformulating recipes to reduce the energy or salt content or to boost their nutritional content can deliver real benefits for both consumers and food and drink companies. By offering Scottish SMEs free, hands-on reformulation support we are up-skilling businesses and helping them to capitalise on the growing market for healthier products. This is an important part of the Scottish food manufacturing industry’s commitment to achieving responsible and sustainable economic growth.”
Lewis Maclean, managing director at Maclean’s said:
“Having a small busy bakery, we didn’t think we had the time to consider changing our recipes. We welcomed Chris Peace from SFDF’s Reformulation Programme coming in and providing his time, focus and expertise. Consumers’ tastes are changing, with a preference for healthier products, and if you don’t move with the times, your company will be left behind. We are keen to continue making recipe changes that will improve the healthiness of our products and appeal to our more health conscious consumer base.”
Charles Hughes, production manager at Yeung’s said:
“At Yeung’s Chinese Foods, we recognise that in recent years consumer tastes have changed with people preferring less salty food products. Our Chinese curry sauce mix was developed 20 years ago when the consumer preferences were somewhat different. Although the FSAS Salt Targets are not mandatory, we recognise that they are an indication of the desired salt level in a wide range of food products. Therefore we have been working towards these guidelines to ‘do our bit’ in contributing towards improved consumer health by reformulating this major product line. Our reformulation achievements have been delivered at the same time as a period of continued volume sales of this particular product.”
SFDF’s Industry Technical Manager is continuing to work with a number of businesses on the reformulation of their products, and we expect to see further progress in the following months.
Working to help more SMEs engage in this work, SFDF will run a series of regional reformulation workshops across Scotland in partnership with Scotland’s Rural College.