Food Drink Ireland hails progress on reformulation

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock
Food products on sale in Ireland contain less salt, sugar and fat than they did a decade ago, progress that industry body Food Drink Ireland (FDI) claims demonstrates the success of voluntary efforts.

The study, conducted by FDI and business group Ibec, looked at the sodium, sugar and saturated fat content of some of the most popular products on sale in the market.

The Evolution of Food and Drink in Ireland report examined changes in the nutritional composition of products over a 12-year period, from 2005 to 2017. It included contributions from 15 food and beverage companies, including Nestle, PepsiCo, Mars, Coca Cola, Unilever, Danone and Kelloggs.

Some 1,780 products were surveyed, ranging from coffee and soft drinks to biscuits and confectionery. Savoury products including cheese, bread, pasta and ready meals were also examined.

Researchers found reformulation of products on the market saw the level of sodium cut by 28% from 2005 levels. Salt and fat reduction trailed, dropping 10.1% and 8% respectively. Overall energy in products was reduced by 1.6% and total fat was cut by 0.3%.

Impact on average consumption

Estimated average reductions in sugar intake, 2005 and 2017:

· Adult sugar intake reduced by 0.8g/day 
· Teen sugar intake reduced by 2.7g/day
· Child sugar intake reduced by 3.2g/day
· Pre-schooler sugar intake reduced by 2.0g/day

Estimated reductions in saturated fat intake, between 2005 and 2017:

· Adult saturated fat intake reduced by 0.5g/day 
· Teen saturated fat intake reduced by 0.2g/day
· Child saturated fat intake reduced by 0.2g/day
· Pre-schooler saturated fat intake remained constant

“This report demonstrates the food and beverage industry’s ongoing commitment to the societal effort to tackle obesity and improve public health. Reformulation is a lengthy and complex journey; each step in the right direction counts. For many products, changes must be gradual in order to ensure consumer acceptance and lock in the health benefits,​” Linda Stuart-Trainor, Director of Prepared Consumer Foods in FDI said.

“This report demonstrates the food and beverage industry’s ongoing commitment to the societal effort to tackle obesity and improve public health. Reformulation is a lengthy and complex journey; each step in the right direction counts. For many products, changes must be gradual in order to ensure consumer acceptance and lock in the health benefits,”​ she added, speaking at the launch of the report.

Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), was also present at the launch event. Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stressed that this demonstrates the importance of collaboration to drive change.

“The presence of FSAI and other policy stakeholders at today’s launch highlights the importance of continued collaboration between government and industry when it comes to improving public health,”​ he noted.

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