These foods are among the key foods in the UK which contribute the most to saturated fat and calories in our diet. The recommendations follow a consultation in summer 2009.
The Agency is encouraging industry to:
- reduce saturated fat in biscuits, cakes, buns and chocolate confectionery
- reduce added sugar in soft drinks
- make smaller single portion sizes more easily available for chocolate confectionery and soft drinks
The Agency’s work to encourage industry to reformulate – making changes to ingredients and recipes – and reduce portion sizes will focus on those foods that will help deliver real public health benefits. We are also asking industry to prioritise making reductions in their biggest selling products for maximum impact. Today’s recommendations focus on various sweet foods and treats. They include:
- Reducing the saturated fat level in some chocolate confectionery (bars with fillings) by at least 10%.
- That soft drinks containing added sugar should be made readily available in single portion sizes of 250ml. To reduce the saturated fat content in plain sweet and savoury biscuits, and plain cakes by at least 10%; and 5% in non-plain biscuits and cakes.
Further recommendations will follow early in the summer on dairy and meat products, pastry and savoury snacks.
Dr Clair Baynton, Head of Nutrition at the FSA said: ‘Food businesses regularly review their ingredients and processes, as well as portion sizes, and the aim of these recommendations is to encourage them to consider how they can play their part in improving public health by reducing saturated fat intakes, which are a factor in heart disease, and helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight.
‘We recognise the excellent work already achieved by many food businesses to make healthier eating easier. But to make even greater progress it’s important that everybody gets behind our recommendations on saturated fat, added sugar and portion sizes.
‘This isn’t about telling people what to eat. We want to make it easier for people to make healthier choices – to choose foods with reduced saturated fat and sugar – or smaller portion sizes.’
In February 2008 the Agency published its Saturated Fat and Energy Intake Programme, which outlined the actions needed to help consumers reduce saturated fat in their diet and balance the amount of calories they consume with what they need. The Agency’s programme identified four areas for action:
- improving consumer awareness and understanding of healthy eating, with particular focus on the impact of saturated fat on health
- encouraging promotion and uptake of healthier options
- encouraging accessibility of smaller food portion sizes
- encouraging voluntary reformulation of mainstream products to reduce saturated fat and energy
Earlier this year, the Agency ran phase two of its saturated fat media campaign. Together with phase one last year, the UK-wide campaigns aimed to raise people’s awareness of the heart health risks from eating too much saturated fat along with supporting advice on easy ways to cut down.