UK Food and drink manufacturers ramp up efforts to improve the nation’s health

A report released today by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) celebrates the work of UK food and drink manufacturers to support the health of the nation by improving the nutritional status of their products and offering consumers a wide variety of options to support sustainable healthy diets.

The Celebrating Food and Nutrition report includes fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel showing that, compared to 2017, FDF member products contribute 10% fewer calories, 12% fewer sugars, and 16% less salt to the average shopping basket.

The report highlights innovation by companies – large and small – to improve the nation’s diet using methods such as reformulating product recipes, providing appropriate portion sizes and bringing healthier options to market. It celebrates the success of the Reformulation for Health programme, run by FDF Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, to support SMEs across Scotland to make their products and recipes healthier.

The report also sets out the fantastic commitments of companies to help bridge the fibre gap as part of FDF’s Action on Fibre initiative; to tackle food poverty with pioneering projects within local communities across the UK;  as well as helping consumers to achieve more sustainable diets on the road to Net Zero.

The food industry has made great strides in supporting balanced diets. In fact, the average shopping basket in the UK is categorised as healthy, and there has been a 14% reduction in the HFSS score for the total food and drink market since 2017. Alongside continued efforts by companies to improve the nutritional profile of food and drinks, targeted initiatives to support communities is vital to reducing health inequalities across the UK.

The industry stands ready to work with government and other agencies to drive further innovation within our sector, and to champion positive messaging about the role of food and drink in a healthy and sustainable diet. We are committed to working in partnership with the UK Government through the forthcoming National Food Strategy and Health Disparities White Paper on targeted, evidence-based initiatives which support the UK Government’s ambition to level up the country. We remain committed too to our work with the devolved administrations across the UK’s four nations to the same end.

We are delighted that the report is supported with expert insights from FareShare, the British Nutrition Foundation and Leatherhead Food Research.

The Food and Drink Federation’s chief executive, Karen Betts, said: “UK food and drink manufacturers make a wide range of products that appear in households across the country and that are at the heart of everyone’s daily lives. Companies in our sector are committed to helping people and communities achieve healthier and more sustainable diets, and we are working hard to make our products better for people and better for the planet.  This includes improving our product recipes, re-looking at portion sizes and improving the information available to shoppers about what they are buying.

“We know there’s more to do, and we’re committed to continuing to make progress across the breadth and diversity of our industry and our wide range of products. This includes working with governments, including through the UK Government’s new National Food Strategy and its Health Disparities White Paper.”

The Food and Drink Federation’s chief scientific officer Kate Halliwell, said: “These latest figures show the fantastic achievements the UK food and drink industry continues to deliver, throughout a challenging period of uncertainty, and we should celebrate this.

“Manufacturers have continued to innovate and bring new healthy and affordable products to market. This has had a real demonstrable impact on the average shopping basket, supporting the nation to have access to a healthy balanced diet.”