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Less salt and saturated fat in many foods

Food companies reformulating their products
  • Deborah Condon

The amount of salt and saturated fat found in some of Ireland’s most well known food and drink products fell significantly between 2005 and 2017, a new report has shown.

The report by Food Drink Ireland (FDI) provides details about the voluntary reformulation of products by food and drink companies. It looks at the specific period 2005 – 2017 and includes some of the biggest brands available in Ireland, including Coca-Cola Ireland, Glanbia, Kellogg’s, Kerry Foods, Nestle, Unilever and Valeo Foods.

“Food and drink companies are constantly innovating in response to changing consumer lifestyles, tastes and demands. This report makes a major contribution to the store of public knowledge on intakes of sugar, salt, saturated fat, total fat and energy.

“It analyses how reformulation and new product development by the food and drink industry interacts with consumer choices to impact on the nutrient intakes of adults, teenagers, children and pre-schoolers,” commented Linda Stuart-Trainor, FDI’s director of prepared consumer foods.

The report shows that between 2005 and 2017, the direct reformulation of products on the market led to a 28% reduction in sodium (salt), a 10% reduction in saturated fat and an 8% reduction in sugar.

It also shows that during this period, adult sugar intake reduced by 0.8g per day, teen intake reduced by 2.7g per day, child intake by 3.2g per day and pre-schooler intake by 2g per day.

Meanwhile reductions in saturated fat intake were 0.5g per day for adults, 0.2g per day for teenagers, 0.2g per day for children, while pre-schoolers’ saturated fat intake remained constant.

The report noted that results for other nutrients were more modest, with sodium, total fat and energy intake remaining relatively stable over the period.

Ms Stuart-Trainor said that while it is ‘widely accepted that no single intervention can reverse obesity’, 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, but 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.

FDI is the Ibec group that represents the food and drink industries.


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