Sunday, 31 January 2016
Many foods have cut salt and fat content
The report from Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) used data on 600 products from 14 major food and drink companies, including Coca Cola Ireland, Kellogs Company Ireland, Unilever, Kerry Foods and Glanbia Consumer Foods.
An analysis of these products revealed that during the seven-year period, 2005 to 2012, the amount of energy as measured in calories fell by 12%, sugar content fell by 14% and salt content fell by 37%.
Overall fat and saturated fat intake also reduced by around 10%.
These reductions were achieved through reformulation, which includes changing recipes.
Speaking at the launch of the report, the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, pointed out that the food industry is ‘well placed' to play a key role in the ongoing battle against obesity.
Currently, around six in 10 Irish adults are overweight or obese.
However, Minister Varadkar added that while he supported the efforts being made on reformulation in recent years, he would like to see this area ‘moving at a quicker pace with clear targets and timelines for achievement over the next three to five years'.
According to FDII director, Paul Kelly, this report ‘is the first of its kind in the world'.
"Never before has the impact of reformulation on the diet of an entire nation been analysed. The commitment of food and drink companies to change recipes and introduce new products has had a significant and positive impact on the diet of Irish consumers," he insisted.
The 14 companies will now provide reformulation data for the 2013-2015 period and this will be the basis of another report, which is due to be published next year.
The current report is supported by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and according to its director of food science and standards, Dr Wayne Anderson, this initiative is to be welcomed.
"Reformulation of foods to reduce salt, sugar and fat will make an important contribution to healthier diets," he commented.
The report, FDII /Creme Global Reformulation Project, was compiled by analysts Creme Global.