Consumers are actively seeking healthier food, research shows

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Almost nine in ten Scots have at least one health goal and are actively seeking healthier food, a new research by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland has found.

The research looked at Scottish consumer and business attitudes to reformulation, which is rated as one of the most effective ways the food and drink industry can help to target obesity.

FDF Scotland is running a Scottish government-funded programme called Reformulation for Health to help small and medium sized food companies to make their products healthier. This includes reducing the amount of salt, sugar, fat and calories; limiting portion sizes; and increasing the amount of fibre or fruits and vegetables.

Over two-thirds of the respondents to the survey (68%) have voiced their support to such a programme as consumers are actively looking for food with healthy product claims.

Among the 42 Scottish food businesses surveyed, the majority have reformulated their products reducing salt, sugar and fat. More than half of these companies think their efforts have helped them attract new consumers.

However, achieving a comparable taste and texture without increasing the cost of foods was found to be the biggest challenge for the companies in this mission.

Joanne Burns, Reformulation for Health manager at FDF Scotland, said: “This research has highlighted the key challenges and barriers food businesses face when reformulating their products. This will help FDF Scotland to effectively tailor the support provided to food businesses, through our Reformulation for Health Programme, to allow them to meet consumer demand for healthier products and to improve the health of their local communities.”