Guest contribution from Joanne Burns of the Food and Drink Federation Scotland
The impact of poor diet and obesity in Scotland is profound – and tackling the challenge will require a holistic approach. The Scottish Government’s A Healthier Future strategy sets out the vision and ambition of improving diet and health across our nation.
To make a real difference to the health of the Scottish people, the whole food supply chain needs to get involved, from producers and retailers to consumers. Product reformulation is rated as the most effective way the food industry can help target obesity.
Reformulation is where a product is made healthier by changing the recipe, altering the way it is prepared or providing clearer information on portion size. Initially, reformulation was about reducing specific food ingredients in a product – cutting the salt in products such as pasta sauces, stock cubes and savoury snacks; or minimising the sugar content in foods such as yoghurts, desserts and chocolate bars. Nowadays, however, food companies are also reformulating recipes to make them healthier by adding ingredients, such as fibre or vitamins, to everyday products such as bread and cereal.
It sounds so very simple, doesn’t it? But it isn’t! Reformulation is actually a very challenging process. Food producers need to make sure their products still taste great, are cost effective and comply with food regulations. Supporting businesses to reformulate successfully requires involvement from a variety of industry experts, including research and development, food technology, nutrition and consumer insights.
In Scotland, 95% of food and drink companies are small to medium-sized businesses. It can be very difficult for them to grapple with all these challenges. This is why FDF Scotland has appointed a Reformulation Project Manager, funded by the Scottish Government, to help small to medium-sized food companies make best use of existing support and the funding that is available. This role forms part of the Make Innovation Happen service, which helps businesses access a wide range of innovation support.
Our Reformulation Project Manager - Joanne Burns - will help to find a tailored solution for your business. This may include reducing fat, salt and sugars in products; increasing levels of fibre and nutrients within foods; or even looking at portion size and clearer labelling information.
If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with Joanne Burns, FDF Scotland’s Reformulation Project Manager, at Joanne.Burns@fdfscotland.org.uk, or 0131 222 8050.