We know how important health is to consumers and how uniquely well-placed retailers are to help them. Our members continue to build on the progress made over the years in improving the quality and safety of the food and drink we buy and the information we have to make healthier choices.
DIET AND NUTRITION
BRC members fully appreciate the scale of the obesity problem facing the UK. Meeting customers every day, retailers know how important health and nutrition is to them, which is why UK retailers have led the way in reformulating products to remove fats and sugars, as well as providing clear labelling using the UK recommended front-of-pack scheme and promoting healthier options.
BRC and its members want more clarity on what is achievable through voluntary measures and where regulation would be more effective. Any government action should be evidence-based and must cover all aspects of food and not just single nutrients. Below are our positions on specific issues which we believe are core to any strategy regarding diet and nutrition including, due to the current focus, sugar reduction.
As an industry, we believe there needs to be a focus on a reduction of sugar consumption, as confirmed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and Public Health England (PHE). In recent years, retailers have taken a positive and proactive approach to reducing sugar in their own-brand products, cutting thousands of tonnes of sugar and millions of calories as part of a wider range of measures to tackle obesity.
In conjunction with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), BRC is currently putting out a call to product specialists or manufacturers who have technical solutions or ingredients that will help food companies reformulate and reduce sugar, whilst maintaining product quality, taste, product safety and shelf life. Click here for more information. Those suppliers who produce suitable sugar alternative ingredients are encouraged to submit information here.
REDUCTION IN SALT CONSUMPTION
BRC members remain fully committed to continuing to reduce salt levels alongside the work they are doing on sugar, saturated fat, calories and other product improvement activities. For most retailers, the vast majority of products within each category met the reduced salt target at around 92 per cent of products meeting the maximum target. BRC members are confident that more categories and products will continue to have reductions in salt levels.
We are acutely aware of the concerns many customers have around allergens. We have worked with manufacturers to produce clear guidance, endorsed by the FSA, on how 'free from' claims are made. We continue to work with expert groups to improve the way products are made and labelled to help those with food allergies.
REDUCING FOODBORNE ILLNESSES
Working with farmers and producers, retailers continue to reduce natural hazards such as salmonella and campylobacter from our food. Completely eliminating them is, however, extremely difficult, so we also give clear information on hygiene and handling food and the use of suitable packaging. See the right hand panel to download our latest member briefing on this topic.