Food companies must prioritise health

One in three products surveyed within the Department of Health's salt reduction programme failed to meet their targets, according to Action on Salt.

Unilever lagged furthest behind and over half of the UK’s ‘flagship’ products surveyed from five of the largest global food companies are ‘unhealthy’ with high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS).

Two UK health charities are now calling on some of the world’s largest multinational companies to urgently improve the healthiness of the products that they sell, including stepping up their efforts to reformulate their popular brands.

The research, by Action on Salt based at Queen Mary University of London and supported by ShareAction, identified 100 key ‘flagship’ products produced by Danone, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, and Unilever and found over half of all the ‘flagship’ products surveyed would be considered ‘unhealthy’. In most cases this is in stark contrast to the image they try and create as global leaders in improving the healthfulness of their food and drinks.

These results also suggest that certain manufacturers are likely to be more greatly impacted by forthcoming promotions and advertising restrictions on unhealthy products. The first strand of restrictions, to limit unhealthy products being promoted in prominent places such as checkouts, will come into force this October; by their own estimates, Kellogg’s could suffer revenue losses in the region of £100m if they do not adapt.

Kellogg’s responded that four out of five of its top-selling cereals are non-HFSS and by next year all of its children’s cereals will be non-HFSS. Furthermore, it noted that the survey was not based on its top selling products, nor was representative of its full product range.

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