UK food and beverage industry commits to improving health of their products
UK food and beverage manufacturers have pledged to continue to improve the nutritional value of their products despite reporting that economic concerns are beginning to weigh more heavily on their plans.
Speaking at the ‘Tackling Obesity: Working Towards a Healthier Nation’ conference in London overnight, Melanie Leech, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, outlined the ways the food and drink manufacturing industry is responding to the challenges of the UK Government’s Obesity Strategy.
“UK food and drink manufacturers are absolutely committed to playing a positive role in responding to society’s concerns about health, diet and lifestyles,” she advised. “The success of the industry to date has driven and enabled the innovations, product developments and new processes that are today meeting changing consumer demand and helping us to deliver an impressive track record as a good corporate citizen.”
“Recent surveys of senior executives at leading UK food and drink businesses have consistently shown health as the number one consumer issue,” Ms Leech added. “However, the events of the last few weeks, and the impact of the credit crunch, mean that price is now likely to be a major theme. We are already seeing clear evidence of consumer spending patterns changing to reflect their drive to reduce costs; and as ever, industry is responding.”
Nevertheless, Ms Leech noted that health remained a key priority. “Our industry has already responded to the health agenda in ways that I believe allows us to argue, with some justification, that the UK is leading the world in terms of reformulating products, extending consumer choice with better-for-you variants, healthier alternatives and functional products, as well as improving the nutrition labelling on packs,” she suggested.