Members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have reduced sugar in the average basket by 12.1% over the past five years, and energy by 5.5%.
According to its Feeding Change report, its members have made “progress to support people in making healthier choices”, as during the lifetime of the latest salt targets (2012 – 2017), FDF members have also reduced salt content by a further 11.4%.
Using individual company case studies, the report highlights a range of industry action; from reformulating products to reduce salt, fat and sugar, to limiting portion sizes and innovating to bring new, healthier options to the market.
In the foreword, Ian Wright CBE, FDF’s chief executive, noted: “Our relationship with food and drink goes way beyond its intrinsic nutritional value; eating and drinking and the occasions that surround them are part of what defines us.
“It is partly for this reason that the UK’s obesity challenge is so intractable. It has been clear for some time that too many of us, on average, consume too many calories.”
He went on to highlight that food and drink manufacturers have “for many years been active participants in the fight against obesity”, adding: “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. Marketing mix is also important as consumers are encouraged to consider healthier choices and innovation to increase the range of options available.”
Kate Halliwell, FDF head of UK Diet and Health Policy, commented: “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.
“In this report, we aim to provide a snapshot of the great work FDF members have done to improve the nation’s diet. FDF and its members recognise they have a role to play in tackling obesity, but we cannot do it alone. 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.”