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UK asks food industry to cut calories by 20% by 2024

FBR Staff Writer Published 07 March 2018

The UK’s Public Health England (PHE) has asked the food industry to cut down calories in their products by 20% by 2024, in a move to implement the government’s strategy to tackle childhood and adult obesity.

According to the government agency, if the target of 20% is met in the next five years, then it would be successful in preventing more than 35,000 premature deaths.

It will also save nearly £9bn in NHS healthcare and social care costs over a period of 25 years.

PHE said that the food industry can achieve the calorie reduction by changing the recipe of products, cutting down on the portion size and also by encouraging customers to buy lower calorie products.

The agency wants a number of food products including pizzas, ready meals, ready-made sandwiches, meat products and savoury snacks to lower the calories contained in them.

It said that the 20% reduction target has come following analysis of the new calorie consumption data, results of the sugar and salt reduction programs along with consultations with several food industry and stakeholders.

PHE, which has come up with major steps to reduce people’s excessive calorie intake, said that overweight or obese boys and girls take up to 500 and 290 calories each day, respectively, as per newly collected evidence.

PHE CEO Duncan Selbie said: “The simple truth is on average we need to eat less. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories and it’s why so many are overweight or obese.

“Industry can help families by finding innovative ways to lower the calories in the food we all enjoy and promoting UK business leadership on the world stage in tackling obesity.”

The agency has also launched the One You campaign recently to encourage adults to cut down on the 200-300 excess calories they consume each day by limiting their breakfast to 400 calories and lunch and dinner to 600 calories, each.

PHE chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said: “It’s hard for people to make healthy food choices, whether for themselves or their families. That’s why we are challenging the food industry to take 20% of the calories out of everyday foods, building on their good work on salt and promising announcements on sugar.”


Image: UK food manufacturers have been asked to cut down calorie count by 20% in their products to help in reducing obesity. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.