Responding to the launch of the Food Standards Agency's saturated fat awareness campaign, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is rising to the challenge.
Julian Hunt, FDF director of communications, said: "Members of the FDF are actively looking at how they can help consumers lower their intakes of saturated fat - and new data from independent market researchers TNS Worldpanel show there have been real changes in consumer purchasing behaviour in categories such as canned goods, frozen prepared foods, ice-cream and frozen puddings, savoury snacks, and yellow fats and milk."
One of the key drivers for this change has been the reformulation efforts of FDF's members, for instance: Walkers has been using a special type of sunflower oil, called sunseed, for a number of years. This has enabled it to reduce the saturated fat content of standard Walkers crisps by 70 per cent and by 80 per cent for Quavers, Monster Munch, Squares and French Fries. In total, Walkers has removed 40,000 tonnes of saturated fat from the British diet.
McCain Foods has made significant progress in the reduction of saturated fat in its potato products through the use of sunflower oils and more efficient production techniques. As a result, McCain has reduced saturated fat across its range by over 70 per cent in the past five years, and now has an average level of just 0.8 per cent saturated fat across both its retail and foodservice lines.
Hunt adds: "Changing the recipes of much-loved British brands so that they are lower in saturated fat is a complex task, as it needs to be done in a way that does not impact functionality, quality or price. But our members have been rising to this particular challenge for a number of years and are now leading the world when it comes to the reformulation of popular products - meeting consumer concerns about health in a way that doesn't compromise on taste."
TNS Worldpanel analyses the information on the nutrition labels of 100,000 food and drink products bought by 25,000 households. It found that from September 2007 to September 2008, purchases across these five categories experienced the biggest declines in saturated fat (equal to 5,500 tonnes).