In a report outlining retailers’ efforts to reduce fat, salt and sugar in own-label ranges, the BRC revealed that significant progress had been made in sandwiches, ready meals, chilled pizza and other chilled prepared foods – as well as high-profile reductions in crisps and snacks.
Some of the biggest reductions had been achieved in chilled pizza, with Asda reducing sat fats by an average of 32% in its range by using different cheeses, oils and meat types/levels; and Waitrose slashing sat fat levels by 34% using a similar approach.
Large reductions have also been achieved in sandwiches through removing spreads where they were not deemed essential or replacing them with lower-saturated fat versions (Sainsbury and Tesco).
Tesco and M&S have also made big reductions in sat fats by switching to a mayonnaise with higher levels of mono-unsaturated fat.
Where reformulation was particularly challenging for technical reasons, retailers have reduced portion sizes or altered the ratios of components within a product to improve its nutritional profile.
Asda, for example, has reduced the amount of cheese used in the ‘rope’ on stuffed crust pizzas, while the Co-operative Group has changed the proportion of sponge to topping in its frozen gateaux.
High oleic oils
In other products, supermarkets have made reductions by baking rather than frying crisps and spring rolls (Sainsbury), or using oils with higher levels of monounsaturated fats, such as high-oleic sunflower oil for frying crisps and rapeseed oil for cooking fish cakes (Waitrose).
For a full copy of the report, Retailers’ Commitment to Health: Reformulation Achievements, click here