Reformulation, whereby the sugar and sweetness in products are gradually reduced, is by far the most important strategy to prevent obesity, providing the calorie content is also reduced.
Following the curtailed Childhood Obesity Strategy announced in August 2016, Action on Sugar are encouraging food manufacturers to get behind Public Health England’s voluntary reformulation programme in helping tackle the biggest public health crisis facing Britain today and save the NHS from bankruptcy.
Our recent survey has found that some companies put far less sugar in their best-selling products compared to others, for example ASDA Smart Price Vanilla Flavour Ice Cream contains 46% less sugars compared to Waitrose Duchy Organic Vanilla Ice Cream and Organix Goodies Gingerbread Men Biscuits contains 38% less sugars verses McVitie's Mini Gingerbread Men) – demonstrating that reducing sugar is possible for manufacturers.
Industry now has a limited window of opportunity to prove that a voluntary reformulation programme can work. However, if they do not, we will need to have mandatory targets as called for by the supermarkets. Indeed, a recent poll for the Huffington Post found that 71% of UK adults believe the law should be changed to reduce the amount of sugar in products, such as cereal and yoghurts.
The Reformulation Plan is one of the most effective ways of reducing sugar and, if done properly, the UK will lead the world. We therefore urge the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to fully support it and commit the government to both fat reformulation (as it's a bigger source of calories than sugar) and to start restrictions of marketing, advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods.
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