Fat reformulation - the challenge of change
The food industry is changing product recipes in response to pressure from regulators, campaigners and consumers but reformulation remains a challenge. In this month's management briefing, Ben Cooper looks at the progress that has been made and analyses if manufacturers can do more.
Under pressure from regulators, campaigners and consumers, food companies are reformulating products to reduce what are sometimes termed "nutrients of concern", including fat. In part one of this month's management briefing, Ben Cooper writes that the issue of fat reduction proves food reformulation is as much about value judgments and perceptions as it is about scientific discovery and technological progress.
Prompted by public health campaigns and changes to product recipes, consumers have become more aware of the difference between bad and good fats, with the latter linked to improved blood cholesterol and reducing diabetes. Some in the industry, however, believe consumers can be confused by the wave of information from different stakeholders.
Calls for levies on fat have intensified in recent years but regulation on the level of the nutrient in food is rare. Education and reformulation, often sparked by campaigners, have been the two ways in which industry and governments have looked to change the fat content in products.
Dairy processors have been at the forefront of fat reformulation but bakers and snack makers have not made as much ground. Those in the sector argue they can go no further but, as Ben Cooper writes in the final part of just-food's management briefing, others believe further progress can be achieved.
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