The data, released by the Food and Drink Federation, found that there has been a 9% reduction in the overall Nutrient Profile Model score for the total food and drink market since 2018. FDF members now contribute 13% fewer calories, 15% fewer sugars and 24% less salt to the average shopping basket than they did eight years ago.
FDF chief scientific officer Kate Halliwell said: “Our companies are committed to helping people live healthy lives and we recognise the important role we play in offering a range of healthier choices for consumers. These latest figures show the fantastic achievements the UK food and drink industry continues to deliver, throughout a challenging period of uncertainty, and we should celebrate this.
“Manufacturers have continued to innovate and bring new healthier products to market. Whether that’s adding more vegetables to a pasta sauce, reducing sugar in a breakfast cereal or enabling you to choose a smaller portion of cake, this has had a real demonstrable impact on the average shopping basket, supporting the nation to have access to a healthy balanced diet.”
The data also revealed that the FDF’s largest companies have managed to achieve improvements on nutrition which are around four times that of smaller companies – an average reduction of 11% to their nutrient profile model.
However, Halliwell called for greater support for small businesses to match the reductions experienced by the larger companies, especially in light of the fact that 97% of the industry is made up of small and medium-sized businesses.
Improving nutrition profile
Elaine Hindal, chief executive of the British Nutrition Foundation, added: “Reformulation has an important part to play in helping people to have healthier diets, through improving the nutrient profile of food.
“Although on its own reformulation can only take us so far on the journey towards supporting healthier and more sustainable dietary patterns, it is encouraging to see the progress shown by this new data and that there is consideration for how to ensure all businesses – regardless of size - get the support they need to improve the nutrient profile of their products.”
Meanwhile, Scottish food and drink businesses reformulating to produce healthier foods have benefited from a round of funding from FDF Scotland.