apetito - reformulation case studies

“We are on a journey to ensure our customers always receive food that is of the best quality, in terms of taste, appearance, and nutritive value.

But our journey does not stop here and we have committed ourselves to an ongoing development programme to continuously review products, to satisfy our customer needs”.

Paul Freeston, Chief Executive, apetito.


  • apetito's ongoing and evolving reformulation programme has been in place since 2005
  • The result is 80% of individual meals sold meet moderate salt criteria. apetito avoids the use of any unnecessary additives and preservatives
  • In just two years apetito aims to remove all artificial colours and flavours
  • apetito's key challenge was to discover the right mix of alternate seasonings to gain the acceptance of its elderly market, achieved through extensive trialling and consumer panelling
  • To date, the programme has cost approximately £600,000

As a company delivering meals to all sectors of the community, apetito believes food should be at its best at the point of service.

The company has always had a strong focus on nutrition and has been dedicated to an ongoing and evolving programme of product reformulation since 2005.

Providing meals for vulnerable markets, such as healthcare and the elderly, means that both the nutrition content of meals and great taste are paramount.

Key projects to date include the elimination of hydrogenated vegetable oils and monosodium glutamate from all meals, and now 80% of individual meals sold meet the company's moderate salt criteria and comply with the Food Standards Agency's guidelines.

The great challenge for apetito lies in retaining flavour profiles, gaining acceptance from high expectation consumers and pleasing the palate of an older clientele raised on saltier dishes. This is overcome by dedicated chefs and technologists in the product development team, together with extensive consumer panelling.

Approximately £600,000 has been spent on reformulation over four years. apetito has a policy of avoiding the use of any unnecessary additives and preservatives, and to help strengthen and continuously improve its product offering, has recently invested in a dedicated reformulation technologist with the ambitious target of removing all artificial colours and flavours by 2011.

All of apetito's main meals are suitable for diabetics. It caters for a wide range of special diets, such as gluten free, high fibre and lower fat. apetito also provides a wide choice of texture modified products. Offering total transparency, all product information is also available online for customers to view.

apetito's Select range was launched under the Wiltshire Farm Foods brand in 2008, and is completely free from artificial colours and flavours.

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Last reviewed: 06 Jul 2009