UK food manufacturers are pushing ahead with launches of healthier products despite the impact of the recession, new research has claimed.

Industry analysts Mintel said today (8 July) that almost 250 "reformulated" products were launched in the first six months of 2009 - a level "similar" to the first half of 2008.

The research, conducted by Mintel on behalf of the UK's Food and Drink Federation, also claimed that the level of reformulation was higher in the UK than in any other European country.

Since January 2007, over 700 lines have been launched with new recipes in the UK, the report claimed.

"There is no immediate sign of a health crunch here in the UK, judging by the number of newly reformulated products appearing on supermarket shelves," David Jago, director of insight and innovation at Mintel's Global New Products Database said.

When pressed by just-food, Jago was unable to provide detailed sales figures for the reformulated products. He insisted, however, that the new lines are expected to sell at least as well as under older recipes.

"We don't have IRI sales data for reformulations, only for 'new' new products," Jago told just-food. "However, a large proportion of those reformulations are major brands, which we expect to continue to sell at least as well - if not better - in their new versions. For example, Kellogg's Special K Bars, Heinz Big Soup and McCain frozen potato products."

The level of reformulation is around two-thirds as high in the UK than in other western European markets, Jago claimed.

"If the UK is on about 250 [product reformulations], then France and Germany are each only about 150 reformulations, followed by the Netherlands and Italy at around 100," he explained.