Diet and health toolkit

18 August 2023

This toolkit is a selection of key resources on food and health. It is updated frequently and is designed to help members to take a consistent, industry-wide approach to issues. It does not replace individual company or sector-specific perspectives and expertise.


This toolkit provides information and a selection of key resources on diet and health policy.

The FDF produces a Diet and Health Policy Timeline, detailing upcoming key dates on food, nutrition and health

In this toolkit:


UK Obesity Strategy


Dietary Intakes and Recommendations




Additional toolkits which may be of interest


HFSS Toolkit

Nutrition and health claims toolkit

Food labelling toolkit


UK Obesity Strategy

Levels of obesity across the UK are too high. Over 1 in 10 children are obese as they start school, and this increases to 1 in 4 by year 6. Obesity rates are over twice as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least. UK’s food and drink manufacturers are committed to supporting the UK Government’s ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

FDF members demonstrate their commitment by investing in reformulation and healthier options; offering appropriate portion size options; and providing clear labelling. To help us, we need governments to use a proportionate, evidence-based policy framework. This must avoid costly new regulatory barriers or restrictions that threaten future investments and the launch of the very products we are being encouraged to make.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have plans to tackle obesity. We work with all the administrations, responding to key consultations and advising on how food manufacturers can help governments to tackle this problem.

How is obesity policy in the UK set?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) sets health policy in England but is advised by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and the Chief Medical Officer of England.

Health policy is largely devolved, for example DHSC, Scottish Government and Welsh Government each have their own obesity policies.

There are differing policies in each country for restricting promotions of certain food and drinks, sale of energy drinks to under 16s, school and nursery food, and within the out of home environment.  However, on issues such as reformulation and mandatory fortification, Governments from respective countries tend to work together for practical reasons to prevent trade barriers.

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy and food and drink advertising codes apply across the UK, although countries can introduce measures that go over and above what is in the codes. Nutrition labelling is currently subject to EU rules, but plans are in place to change this to a pan-UK competency.

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What is the current obesity policy in England?

In England there have been four obesity plans published since 2016. Each obesity plan covers different policies that have been introduced

1. Childhood obesity: A plan for action

In August 2016 the government published their childhood obesity plan which aims to significantly reduce obesity within the next ten years.

View the FDF summary.

2. Childhood Obesity Plan - Chapter 2

In June 2018, the government published chapter 2 of their childhood obesity plan, which includes an ambition to halve childhood obesity and reduce health inequalities by 2030.

View the FDF summary.

3. Childhood Obesity Plan Chapter 3

In July 2019, the government published its Green Paper Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s. The paper covers a broad sweep of preventative health, with a particular focus on smoking, obesity and mental health. Although it discusses adult obesity it was designated Childhood obesity plan Chapter 3.

View the FDF summary.

4. Tackling obesity - empowering adults and children to live healthier lives

In July 2020, the government published a fourth obesity policy paper. This set out a more population focused approach to tackling obesity.

View the FDF summary.

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What is the current obesity policy in Scotland?

In 2018 the Scottish Government published ‘A healthier future: Scotland’s diet and healthy weight delivery plan’. The delivery plan aims to halve child obesity in Scotland by 2030 and sets out five key outcomes they are working towards.

FDF has produced a summary of the plan


What is the current obesity policy in Wales?

In 2019 the Welsh Government published a long-term strategy to prevent and reduce obesity in Wales. Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales focuses on health of the general population and sets out a number of commitments across four pillars: Healthy Environments, Healthy People, Healthy Settings, Leadership and Enabling Change.

FDF has produced a summary of the plan.

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Dietary Intakes and Recommendations

It is important for manufacturers to be mindful of the dietary status of the population and understand the science behind recommendations. 

According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, and Family Food Survey most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.  The UK Government has developed dietary recommendations.

When updating dietary guidelines, Government and policy makers rely on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a panel of independent scientific experts. Notable reports from SACN include those on Saturated Fat, and Carbohydrates, Vitamin D and Folic Acid.

To support members, FDF produces:

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Reformulation, new product development and portion sizing are key actions that food and drink manufactures can take to improve diets and reduce obesity.

FDF has produced a range of resources to support members in reformulation:

The UK government has published voluntary reformulation guidelines for salt, sugar and calories. Alongside this, Government are tracking industry progress toward achieving these guidelines. The latest progress reports can be found here.

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