There has never been more of a focus or pressure on food manufacturers to reformulate products in a bid to improve the nutritional content of products. The good news is that UK shoppers don’t mind their favourite products being reformulated – just so long as they taste as good! So are you ready to rise to the challenge?
Whether this is reducing sugar, salt or saturated fat or even enriching foods with the nutrients that we need to consume more of – you might find the collection of case studies from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) a good source of inspiration and ideas. Here are some of the reformulation highlights:
- ASDA reduced sugar in the base dough recipe of their donuts by 50% without any technical issues. They also reduced salt in sour cream & onion party bites by simply adding a crisp without added salt to the mix.
- Premier Foods adopted a ‘health by stealth’ approach by making gradual changes to the sugar content of their popular Mr Kipling Viennese Whirls.
- Reducing sugar by 33% and salt by 21% in Musgrave cooking sauces took Greencore 8 months to achieve by boosting the tomato and vegetable content. This required new ingredients to be sourced and new procedures creating. A similar approach was taken by Mars Food for Dolmio sauces.
- It took 12 months for Tesco to reformulate honey & mustard chicken pasta due to technical issues with creating a lower fat dressing that doesn’t split when honey is an ingredient. Tesco also identified that mayonnaise and butter were common ingredients in sandwiches so they replaced this with a reduced fat mayonnaise and also removed the butter.
- Dairy Crest worked for 2 years to produce a high quality lower fat mature cheese.
- M&S enriched their loaves and rolls with fibre and used a type of yeast that produces vitamin D. Clear front of pack labelling was also a significant element as customers find positive messages more motivating.
- Greggs launched a new ‘Balanced Choice’ range consisting of products <400 calories and with no red colour coded nutrients. They also reformulated some traditional favourites by replacing puff pastry with shortcrust and developing lower fat fillings.
- Tesco reformulated trifles taking several years to achieve a multi-component nutrient reduction. This not only resulted in a healthier product, but the cream had a fresher & cleaner taste and organoleptic properties were improved at end of shelf life.
- Sainsbury’s made a simple swap from whole milk to semi skimmed in drinks served from in store cafes resulting in significant reductions in both calories and fat. They also provide the nutritional composition of their products on menu boards to help customers make informed choices.
- Co-op worked collaboratively with one of their suppliers – Tulip, using a solution called IPOSOL in order to achieve a 30% reduction in salt in gammon.
- Morrisons removed sugar from extruded breakfast cereals by replacing it with a bulking carbohydrate that did not increase calories. The ratio of cereal types was altered to boost fibre content and improve texture.
Another new resource that will be of particular interest if your are a catering manager or chef is the Nutrition guide from the British Hospitality Association. This go-to guide is full of useful information about how to provide healthier options and the legal obligations that must be complied with.
The guidance helps caterers to design healthier menus including those specifically aimed at children or for those with allergies. Packed with ideas on how to maximise the use of fruit and veg, purchasing tips, food preparation techniques to preserve nutrients and ways to remove/reduce/replace fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, it even advises on ways to promote your new menu and ensure that you are making legally compliant nutrition and health claims.
Whilst the reasons for formulating products are varied it’s clear that consumers and external influences are big a stimulus for healthier reformulation.
AB Food Nutrition works with manufacturers to provide nutrient composition values of their products for labelling or menu boards and also during product development or reformulation. We can work with you to assess the impact recipe changes will have on nutritional content as well as advising on ways to achieve a desired nutritional profile such as reducing fat, sugar or salt including advice on which nutrition or health claims you can use in product marketing. Contact Anne for further information about our nutrition and labelling services.