OPINION

Reformulation and innovation support healthier, more sustainable diets

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Professor Judy Buttriss, director general of the British Nutrition Foundation, talks about the importance of reformulation.
Professor Judy Buttriss, director general of the British Nutrition Foundation, talks about the importance of reformulation.

Related tags: Ingredients & nutrition

The importance of reformulation and, in particular, innovation to improve the nutrient profile of food has been reinforced recently by the challenges associated with the high prevalence of obesity, its association with symptom severity in COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic on food insecurity and food system disruption and the need to mitigate the environmental impact of food production.

This is not simply about reducing the calorie density of foods – taking sugar and fat out. The overall nutrient profile of foods and diets is important to ensure delivery of the diversity of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and dietary fibres needed for health. 

Reformulation, on its own, can only take us so far on the journey to healthier and more sustainable dietary patterns. However, it certainly has an important part to play alongside ingredient selection and innovation, new product development, and reconnection with the principles of good nutrition.

Sustainable, affordable and nutritious food

As the global population continues to increase, we need to feed everyone without irreparably harming the environment.  Yet as well as being sustainably produced, food should be affordable, convenient, safe, as well as nutritious.

A special issue of Nutrition Bulletin​, published in August, combines summaries of the public health rationales for saturated fat and sugars reductions, enhancing fibre intake and protein diversification, with reviews of the technical challenges associated with these adjustments.

Recent technological advances employed to design foods to improve their healthiness, while reducing their environmental impact, are discussed. In particular, the issue emphasises how processed foods can be made healthier by altering the nature and structural organization of their constituents to modulate the way they behave inside our bodies. 

Papers can be accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14673010

 

  • Professor Judy Buttriss is director general of the British Nutrition Foundation

Related topics: Obesity

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