News article

21 December 2018

FDF response to Chief Medical Officer's comments about the food industry

Back to list of articles

Kate Halliwell, FDF Head of UK Diet and Health Policy said:

“FDF member companies are fully engaged with the Government's various reformulation programmes. They provide flexibility for manufacturers to decide how best to reduce sugar and calorie consumption amongst children. This is something manufacturers have been doing for over a decade.

“Over five years FDF member companies have reduced calorie content in the average basket by 5.5%, and sugar content by 12.1%. PHE have themselves said that the industry has made good progress in reducing the amount of sugar in products. Our salt reduction efforts have been described as 'world-leading'.

“However, we also recognise that there is more work to be done. PHE's sugar and calorie reduction programmes are only in their early stages. As PHE have themselves pointed out, reformulation takes time – it can't happen overnight. It comes with considerable technical challenges. For example sugar plays a variety of roles beyond sweetness in food including colour, texture and consistency. It is for these reasons that we have long said that the guidelines are ambitious and will not be met across all categories or in the timescale outlined.

“There is no evidence that additional food taxes can change consumer behaviours over the long-term. McKinsey, in its comprehensive review of policy tools aimed at tackling obesity, ranked tax thirteenth in effectiveness out of sixteen interventions, while portion control and product reformulation were ranked one and two.

“Food and drink companies should focus efforts where they can have the maximum impact, instead of managing the impact of wrong-headed legislation.”

More information

Back to list of articles