Friday, June 14, 2024

UK shopping baskets become healthier as food and drink manufacturers cut down on sugar, salt and calories

New Kantar Worldpanel data, released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), shows the average UK shopping basket has become healthier within recent years. This is based on metrics developed by government to enable nutritionists to ‘score’ food, looking at a whole range of factors from sugar to protein to fruit and vegetable content.

This is largely due to the food and drink industry making changes to support balanced diets, including improving the recipes of our favourite brands, innovating with new healthier options and providing appropriate portion sizes. Products from FDF members now contribute 13% fewer calories, 15% fewer sugars and 24% less salt to the average shopping basket than they did eight years ago.

The Food and Drink Federation’s chief scientific officer Kate Halliwell said: “Our companies are committed to helping people live healthy lives and we recognise the important role we play in offering a range of healthier choices for consumers. These latest figures show the fantastic achievements the UK food and drink industry continues to deliver, throughout a challenging period of uncertainty, and we should celebrate this.

“Manufacturers have continued to innovate and bring new healthier products to market. Whether that’s adding more vegetables to a pasta sauce, reducing sugar in a breakfast cereal or enabling you to choose a smaller portion of cake, this has had a real demonstrable impact on the average shopping basket, supporting the nation to have access to a healthy balanced diet.”

The latest data also found that the FDF’s largest companies have managed to achieve improvements on nutrition which are around four times that of smaller companies.

Kate added: “This data demonstrates that more support is needed to help smaller businesses match the innovation and output of the larger companies. With 97% of the food and drink industry made up by small to medium sized companies, these companies can play an important role in providing healthier options but many do not have the resources, or technical expertise to reformulate their products.

“The industry stands ready to work with government to drive further innovation within our sector, and to work in partnership to power the health of our workforce and communities across the UK.”

Chief Executive of the British Nutrition Foundation Elaine Hindal said: “Reformulation has an important part to play in helping people to have healthier diets, through improving the nutrient profile of food. Although on its own reformulation can only take us so far on the journey towards supporting healthier and more sustainable dietary patterns, it is encouraging to see the progress shown by this new data and that there is consideration for how to ensure all businesses – regardless of size – get the support they need to improve the nutrient profile of their products.”

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