High sugar food brands need to promote healthy options

Manufacturers of soft drinks, cakes and chocolate will be urged to increase marketing spend on promoting “healthier options” under proposals drawn-up by the Food Standards Agency.

The measure is included in a set of voluntary recommendations published for consultation by the FSA today (28 July).

They also include proposals to “encourage” the industry to reduce saturated fat and sugar content in processed foods and reduce portion sizes.

Foods covered by this consultation also include pastries, cakes, buns and biscuits. A consultation covering dairy and meat products and savoury snacks is scheduled for later in the year.

The FSA says it is focusing on foods “that will help deliver real public health benefits”, and is asking manufacturers to prioritise reformulation of their “biggest selling” products in the categories it has earmarked “for maximum impact.”

FSA director of consumer choice and dietary health stresses the move is not “telling people what to eat” but making “it easier for people to make healthier choices.”

The move follows the agency’s national campaign to raise awareness of the health risks associated with eating too much saturated fat and how consumers could cut down.

Industry body the Food and Drink Federation says its members have shown their commitment to reformulation of “much-loved British brands” for a number of years” but hoped policy makers would recognise the “very significant technical, financial and consumer challenges” they faced, particularly in the current economic climate.

It expects to publish its final recommendations by the end of the year.

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