Food manufacturers are committed to improving the Scottish diet

Written by David Thomson on 11 April 2017 in Comment

Associate feature: David Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland, on the fight against obesity 

David Thomson - photo credit: Food and Drink Federation Scotland

There is no question that obesity levels in Scotland and across the UK are unacceptably high. Physical inactivity is a factor, but for many the problem is with excess calories in the diet. With many of these calories coming from sugars, leading food and drink manufacturers are supporting the UK Government’s highly ambitious sugars reduction drive which launched last month. This work will have a significant impact on many products sold and manufactured in Scotland.

Food and drink manufacturers have achieved many reformulation success stories. For instance, soft drink companies have reduced sugar from their products by 18 per cent in the past five years and confectionery companies introduced a 250 calorie cap on single serve chocolate confectionery which has led to calorie reductions of between 10-15%.Our salt reduction achievements are world-renowned.  

Following a review of scientific evidence in 2015, which recommended we eat less sugar and more fibre each day, the UK Government and the food industry are now working together to help people get fewer calories from sugars.

To play their part, responsible food and drink manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, cafes and takeaways will adapt recipes and take action to encourage consumers towards low and no sugar options. In some foods, portion size reductions will be necessary.

Often, changing products gradually over time gives the best chance of consumer acceptance and lowest risk of rejection of a product. This involves long-term company commitment and investment as reformulation is as expensive as it is time consuming.  Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often don’t have the expertise in-house to reformulate their products. We are delighted that Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has recommended that the upcoming Scottish Government diet and obesity strategy includes reformulation support for SMEs.

FDF Scotland will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government, FSS and industry partners from across the food chain to improve the Scottish diet.

Get in touch to discuss how we can work together: Twitter: @FDFScotland email: sfdf@sfdf.org.uk telephone: 0131 229 9415

David Thomson is CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland 

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