A majority of consumers (89%) in Scotland are actively seeking healthier food, a recent report by Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland and Levercliff has found.
The study gauged consumers’ attitudes towards health and wellbeing and examined the factors that influenced the purchase of food items.
For the food and drinks industry, reformulation was rated as one of the most effective ways to target obesity, the study highlighted.
Reformulation allows food manufacturers to make products more healthy by modifying the recipes, adjusting portion sizes or changing the preparation method, the report said.
'A Key Driver'
Director of Levercliff, David Craig, commented, “Health is increasingly being seen by consumers as a key driver for purchasing food products.
“This research will support companies to better understand consumer attitudes towards reformulation and ultimately help the Scottish people to improve their diets”.
FDF Scotland already runs a ‘Reformulation for Health’ programme funded by the Scottish Government.
It helps small and medium-sized food companies to make their products healthier by reducing the amount of salt, sugar, fat and calories; limiting portion sizes; and increasing the amount of fibre or fruit and vegetables.
More than two thirds (68%) of Scottish adults favoured the idea of such a programme as consumers are actively looking out for food with healthy product claims, the study noted.
A majority of the 42 Scottish food businesses that participated in the survey have reformulated their products.
More than half of these companies opined that its efforts have helped in attracting new consumers
A Major Barrier
The companies identified the ability to achieve the desired taste and texture without increasing the cost of food items as one of the major barriers in reformulation.
Programme manager for Reformulation for Health, Joanne Burns, said, “This research has highlighted the key challenges and barriers food businesses face when reformulating their products.
"This will help FDF Scotland to effectively tailor the support provided to food businesses through our Reformulation for Health Programme.”