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News article

10 February 2009

Industry responds to sat fat challenges

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Embargoed until 00:01hrs, Tuesday 10 February 2009

Responding to the launch of the Food Standards Agency's saturated fat awareness campaign, Julian Hunt, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Director of Communications, says:

“Members of the Food and Drink Federation are actively looking at how they can help consumers lower their intakes of saturated fat – and new data from independent market researchers TNS Worldpanel show there have been real changes in consumer purchasing behaviour in categories such as canned goods, frozen prepared foods, ice-cream and frozen puddings, savoury snacks; and yellow fats and milk[*].”

One of the key drivers for this change has been the reformulation efforts of FDF's members, for instance:

  • Walkers has been using a special type of sunflower oil, called sunseed, for a number of years. This has enabled it to reduce the saturated fat content of standard Walkers crisps by 70% and by 80% for Quavers, Monster Munch, Squares and French Fries. In total, Walkers has removed 40,000 tonnes of saturated fat from the British diet!
  • McCain Foods has made significant progress in the reduction of saturated fat in its potato products through the use of sunflower oils and more efficient production techniques. As a result, McCain has reduced saturated fat across its range by over 70% in the past five years, and now has an average level of just 0.8% saturated fat across both its retail and foodservice lines.
  • More recently, United Biscuits has reduced the saturated fat content of three of its leading McVitie's biscuit brands: since November last year McVitie's Digestives, McVitie's Hob Nobs and McVitie's Rich Tea have 50% less saturated fat.

Hunt adds: “Changing the recipes of much-loved British brands so that they are lower in saturated fat is a complex task, as it needs to be done in a way that does not impact functionality, quality or price. But our members have been rising to this particular challenge for a number of years and are now leading the world when it comes to the reformulation of popular products – meeting consumer concerns about health in a way that doesn't compromise on taste.”

Notes to Editors

  • Health experts point out that the average UK diet contains too much saturated fat. However, TNS Worldpanel's data also show that there has been an overall decline in the amount of saturated fat contained in products bought. As a result, between September 2007 and September 2008, saturated fat purchases grew by only 0.3% compared to a growth of 1.2% the year before.
  • The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more information about FDF and the industry we represent visit www.fdf.org.uk

More Information

For more information please contact:

FDF Press team
Keren McCarron on keren.mccarron@fdf.org.uk or 020 7420 7132
Rebecca Wilhelm rebecca.wilhelm@fdf.org.uk or 020 7420 7140
Yvette Murphy on yvette.murphy@fdf.org.uk or on 020 7420 7131

* TNS Worldpanel analyses the information on the nutrition labels of 100,000 food and drink products bought by 25,000 households. It found that between September 2007 and September 2008, purchases across these five categories experienced the biggest declines in saturated fat (equivalent to 5,500 tonnes year-on-year).

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