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Despite nutrient reformulation targets, most companies sell unhealthy foods

Food firms in UK failed to meet targets for reducing calories, sugar and salt in their products


Key points from article :

A poor response from leading UK food companies to voluntary nutrient reformulation targets.

Public Health England published voluntary reformulation targets for food manufacturers.

Researchers assessed the change in overall nutritional quality of products of over 3,200 products between 2015 and 2018.

By 2018, Danone and Kraft Heinz had an average sales-weighted nutrient profile score above the threshold for healthy.

Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestlé and Mondelez scored poorly.

Only 6 brands improved their nutrient profiling score by 20% or more.

Sales classified as healthy increased from 44% to 51%, driven mainly by sales of bottled water, low/no calorie carbonated drinks, and juices.

When soft drinks were excluded, the proportion of foods classified as healthy decreased from 7% to 6%.

Study lead Lauren Bandy said: ‘The UK voluntary reformulation not appear to have led to any recent significant changes in the nutritional quality of foods.'

Study by NDPH published in PLOS ONE.

Mentioned in this article:

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Lauren Bandy

Early Career Research Fellow at Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford

Oxford Population Health

One of the largest medical science division in the University of Oxford


This journal covers primary research from any discipline within science and medicine.

Public Health England (PHE)

Health protection agency.

Topics mentioned on this page:
Diet, Policy