Blog: Dean BestYoplait looks to tackle the UK's Vitamin D "problem"

Dean Best | 18 September 2012

Yoghurt giant Yoplait today (18 September) showcased a new product it believes will help UK consumers boost their intake of Vitamin D and calcium and ease the country's "bone health woes".

At an event in London, Yoplait formally announced the launch of Calin+, which, as we reported earlier this month, is already in sale at multiples including Asda.

Calin+, which is already available in Yoplait's home market of France and neighbouring countries like Belgium, contains 100% of the EU recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D (which if you didn't know is five micrograms).

In a series of presentations from three medical professionals, we were shown how the UK's intake of Vitamin D is inadequate across different types of consumers. A switch to low-fat diets, the under-consumption of oily fish, the low level of supplements and even the fabled poor UK weather were cited as factors for the country's low levels of Vitamin D.

The academics said a boost to the nation's Vitamin D intake would make bones healthier and stronger and help reduce the levels of osteoperosis, which comes with an impact on the nation's finances.

Yoplait said there was no yoghurt on sale in the UK that came close to containing the levels of Vitamin D in a pot of Calin+. "There's no other pots with 100% of the European RDA for Vitamin D," senior brand manager Jo Skinner said.

With the UK consuming far less Vitamin D than it should, one wonders whether the average punter is either aware of the problem or, frankly, whether he or she even cares.

However, Skinner and the academics present insisted consumers were becoming far more interested in the issue and in what they could do to boost their intake of the nutrient.

"When you talk to consumers a surprising number of them are concerned about their bones," Skinner told just-food.

Nutrionist Dr Carrie Ruxton added: "Vitamin D is starting to ripple along as one of the big issues. It does take consumers time. There is consumer interest."

Yoplait is planning a media push, including TV advertising, to emphasise the benefits of Calin+, which retails at GBP1.99 for a pot of four.

Of course, one wishes Yoplait success with its product but the current data does suggest consumers are either unaware of the importance of stocking up on Vitamin D or do not really care.

The UK government only provides official guidance on consuming the nutrient for specific groups, including the elderly and pregnant women. Perhaps, for Vitamin D intake to really increase and for brands like Calin+ to really take off in the UK, the Government needs to publish a recommendation for the entire population but that, of course, is a whole separate issue.



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