Food manufacturers have reduced sugar in the average shopping basket by 12% over the past five years, according to a new report from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The Feeding Change report sets out how reformulation efforts by FDF members have also reduced energy in the average basket by 5.5% and salt content by a further 11.4%, building on previous salt reduction work.
Using individual company case studies, the report highlights a range of industry action aimed at improving diets; from reformulating products to reduce salt, fat and sugar, to limiting portion sizes and innovating to bring new, healthier options to the market.
It notes that General Mills, for instance, has reduced sugar by 17% in Petits Filous through a recipe reformulation; while McCain has reduced salt in products by 22%, and saturated fat by 70% since 2001.
“At a time when one in three children are leaving primary school overweight or obese, industry’s ground-breaking work to tackle this issue is more important than ever,” said Kate Halliwell, FDF head of UK diet and health policy. “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 FDF also welcomed Public Health England’s new focus on calorie reduction, which it said aligns with a whole diet approach to tackling obesity. It argued that focusing on the role of individual nutrients or ingredients does not help consumers to build a realistic approach to their diet, lifestyle or general health.