The average shopping basket in the UK has become healthier in recent years, new Kantar Worldpanel data, released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), has unveiled.
Products from companies that are part of the FDF have managed to cut down calories, sugar, and salt by 13%, 15%, and 24%, respectively, from the average shopping basket compared to eight years ago, data showed.
The findings are based on metrics developed by the government to enable nutritionists to ‘score’ food, looking at a full range of factors – from sugar to protein and fruit and vegetable content.
The reduction resulted from changes made by the industry to support balanced diets, including improving the recipes of popular brands, innovating with new, healthier options, and providing appropriate portion sizes.
Kate Halliwell, chief scientific officer of The Food and Drink Federation 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."
Halliwell added that manufacturers continue to innovate so that they can offer healthier versions of their products.
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Support For Smaller Businesses
The data also revealed that the largest companies in FDF have achieved nutritional improvements around four times that of smaller companies.
Halliwell added, "This data demonstrates that more support is needed to help smaller businesses match the innovation and output of the larger companies. With 97% of the food and drink industry made up of small to medium-sized companies, these companies can play an important role in providing healthier options, but many do not have the resources, or technical expertise to reformulate their products.
“The industry stands ready to work with government to drive further innovation within our sector, and to work in partnership to power the health of our workforce and communities across the UK.”
'Healthier And More Sustainable' Diets
Chief executive of the British Nutrition Foundation, Elaine Hindal added, "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 a consideration for how to ensure all businesses – regardless of size - get the support they need to improve the nutrient profile of their products."
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) represents the food and drink manufacturing sector in the UK.
The industry contributes over £30 billion (€34.2 billion) to the country's economy, supporting half a million jobs and driving growth at home and abroad.