The guide – developed by Leatherhead Food Research (LFR) – explained the regulatory framework covering the reduction of sugars, key concerns when reducing sugars or using sugar replacers and the consumer acceptability of sugar substitutes, according to the FDF.
FDF director general Ian Wright said: “Our member companies are constantly innovating to meet the demand from shoppers and consumers for great tasting, nutritious and affordable foods and drinks.
“Sugar reduction is a major focus as consumers look increasingly closely at the sugars in their diets. This presents both challenges and opportunities.
‘Lasting and beneficial to consumer health’
“Recipe changes need to pass the consumer acceptance test to be successful, lasting and beneficial to consumer health.
“FDF is committed to giving our members – particularly small and medium sized businesses without large R&D resources – the help they need to reformulate their products successfully.”
Head of nutrition and product development at LFR Jenny Arthur said that reformulating products was a “challenging task”, but hoped the guide would be of help.
“We hope this guide will give companies practical advice to help them create products with an overall reduction in sugars, while still delivering on taste, texture and mouthfeel,” said Arthur.
‘Viability of the proposed sugar tax’
The guide comes at a time when the viability of the proposed sugar tax has come into question, following the historic decision for the UK to leave the EU.
Previously, pressure group Action on Sugar said voluntary reformulation schemes would only reduce the nation’s sugar intake by 20%, lower than the suggested 50% reduction to help prevent dietary illnesses like type 2 diabetes.
That level of reduction had “been shown internationally for salt reduction to be far more effective in reducing salt than voluntary systems which tend to be eroded by the food industry.
“[We] estimate that the plan in its current form will only reduce calorie intake by around 10– 20kcal/person/day as a maximum and this is nowhere near enough to have any real effect on preventing obesity.”
Meanwhile, the FDF has hit back at criticism of its comment that non-western countries had “no problem” with less healthy foods being advertised at the Rio Olympics.