Food suppliers and stores in battle to check obesity

NATIONAL health authorities have announced a radical crackdown on sugar, salt and saturated fat in supermarket goods, and have so far recruited nearly 400 companies to support them.

Around 4,000 packaged products, including “ready meals”, will be affected by the new scheme, designed to tackle obesity.

By the year 2020, food producers already signed up have pledged to slash levels of refined sugar, saturated fats and salt by 10%.

Yet the Ministry of Health says its drive to improve nutritional quality on the high street “is here to stay, extending far beyond the year 2020”

The food industry, including manufacturers, the catering trade, distributors and vending-machine franchises, have actually been working on improving nutritional quality for several years.

In addition, they have been calling for Spain’s Government to complement their efforts with more campaigns, especially encouraging physical activity.

Packaged and processed food is particularly crucial to target, since the National Institute of Statistics (INE) has proved that lowest-income households are most likely to eat a poor diet, and ignore exercise. Thus, both factors lead to a greater obesity problem in the poor than in the wealthy.

Figures show that in Spain, 54% of the adult population and 40% of children are clinically overweight, while actual obesity, defined as being above set weight-height ratios and BMI measurements, affects 17% of adults and 18% of children.

Health Minister María Luisa Carcedo, who believes the scheme has been “a hit”, has praised the “enormous efforts” of the food industry, especially the 398 firms which have taken the 10% pledge.

The sugar, fat and salt reductions will affect 13 main food-and-drink groups, including snack items, soft drinks, cakes and pastries, breakfast cereal designed with children in mind, dessert pots such as custard, mousse and similar, meat products, biscuits, ice-cream, juice-based drinks that are not pure or 100% from concentrate, as well as packaged rather than fresh bread, ready meals, dairy products, and sauces.


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Posted by on Feb 1 2019. Filed under Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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