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Public Health England (PHE) currently lead a comprehensive salt reduction programme and sugars reduction programme. Further to this, they are developing new guidelines for calorie reduction, due to be published in mid-2019. This reformulation toolkit focuses on guidance for sugars reduction, with links to supporting documents.

Sugars Reduction

Public Health England (PHE) leads a sugars reduction programme for all sectors of industry (retailers, manufacturers, and the out of home sector). This was one of the actions in the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan published in 2016.

The programme challenges every business to a 20% reduction in the average sugars per 100g of their portfolio*, weighted by the sales volume of each product. The baseline year is 2015, and the 20% reduction is to be achieved by August 2020.

*The foods included in the programme cover key categories of foods shown to contribute the most sugars to children's diets: breakfast cereals; yogurts; biscuits; cakes; morning goods; puddings; ice cream, lollies, and sorbets; chocolate confectionery; sweet confectionery; and sweet spreads and sauces. PHE's publication with the category guidelines can be found here.

PHE have committed to publishing yearly progress reports, the first of which was published in May 2018 (found here). Retailers and manufacturers made a 2% reduction in the average sugars (weighted by sales) across all the categories assessed, and a 2% reduction in calories (also weighted by sales) in single serve products. Soft drinks included within the Soft Drinks Industry Levy had reduced sugars by 11% and calories in single serve products by 6%.

PHE have also now asked that drinks excluded from the levy – milk-based drinks and juice drinks, reduce their sugars content. PHE's guidelines for this is published here.

FDF reformulation guidance

FDF has published a sugars reformulation guide to support the work SMEs are doing to reduce sugars. The guide, written by Leatherhead Food Research, provides information on:

  • The regulatory framework for using sugar replacers, and making claims on packaging
  • Types of sugars and sweeteners
  • Factors affecting consumer acceptance of sugar reduced products

As well as information on how to reduce sugars in:

To supplement this guide, we have developed additional guidance on sugars reduction in chocolate confectionery and sugars reduction in puddings.

Sugar replacers

To further support companies in reducing sugars, we have a live document which acts as a database for suppliers of sugars replacers. Information about the product and contact details for the company are included with the aim of short-cutting the process to find the right ingredient for your product if you are wanting to use one.

Further information

FDF's guidance document on Comparative Nutrition Claims offers a step by step guide which may be helpful when considering the requirements of the legislation and in providing accurate information on product packaging.

If you would like more information on reformulation, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) have also compiled information on reformulation on their website here.

If you have any comments on the above information, or additional areas you would like to be covered, please let us know to help us improve the information we provide and ensure it is appropriately tailored to the needs of small to medium sized businesses.

Did you find this information useful?

Find out more about what FDF can offer - our membership team will be happy to answer any questions that you have on 020 7420 7208 or email