UK food and drink companies pledge to cut calories

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th March 2012

Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, food manufacturers, caterers and food outlets have agreed to voluntarily cut the number of calories in their products under a new UK Government health initiative to tackle obesity.

Coca-Cola Great Britain, Kraft, Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo, Premier Foods, Unilever, Subway, and all the UK’s leading supermarkets are amongst those already signed up to the UK Government’s ‘Responsibility Deal’ calorie reduction pledge initiative.

The initiative aims to reduce the UK population’s total calorie consumption by 5 billion calories per day. More than three-quarters of the UK’s retail market has already signed up to the initiative.

According to the UK Government’s Department of Health, England has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe and some of the highest rates in the developed world.  Over 60 per cent of adults and a third of 10 and 11 year olds are considered overweight or obese.

The following examples highlight some of the initiatives being taken:

  • Coca-Cola Great Britain has pledged to reduce the calories in some of its soft drinks brands by at least 30 per cent by 2014;
  • Mars has pledged to cap the calories of their chocolate items to 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013;
  • Premier Foods, manufacturer of brands including Ambrosia, Batchelors, Hovis, Loyd Grossman, Mr.Kipling, and Sharwood’s, has pledged to reduce calories in one third of its sales by the end of 2014 and at least 30 per cent of new products will be lower calorie choices;
  • The Subway brand has committed to offer five out of their nine Low Fat Range Subs, each with fewer than 370 calories, as part of their ‘£3 lunch offer’;

UK Government Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said, “Eating and drinking too many calories is at the heart of the nation’s obesity problem. We all have a role to play – from individuals to public, private and non-governmental organisations – if we are going to cut five billion calories from our national diet.”