With consumers more concerned about healthy-eating, biscuit firms, cake makers and confectioners face a battle to get their products into a balanced diet. Health was a key topic at yesterday’s (24 April) UK Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery conference. Here are some key quotes from the session.

“The US consumer is still motivated by that “100 calories” message. A US consumer who wants a low-calorie product will go into a supermarket and find a product specifically with that on it. This has changed slightly in the UK market and is nothing about low calorie. It is aimed at women who just want smaller portions instead” – David Jago, Mintel.

“There is a huge awareness nowadays about health and awareness, about looking good and exercise, and that has become more prevalent in recent years because people have begun to overeat due to our lifestyles. We know we have to take more responsibility for ourselves and more importantly, the government knows it needs to take more responsibility too” – John Madden, Euromonitor.

“We have designed a holistic plan with the government to tackle the obesity issue. It will involve reducing portion sizes, reducing energy density and saturated fats and educating consumers on the foods they are eating” – Corinne Vaughan, Food Standards Agency.

“We are not planning on bringing out any warning labels for foods containing saturated fats like the papers have reported, and that includes slapping health warnings on cheese sandwiches!” – Vaughan

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“The food industry has done a poor job in the past explaining what is in our foods and we are all guilty of that” – Jago

“Font size is a big thing consumers are lobbying for. There are some major challenges, particularly in the confectionery business if this is carried through” – Kath Veal, Leatherhead Food International.

“The language about additive-free is now going towards much more emotional language, like “junk free” – Jago

“Bacteria has four times the survival rate in chocolate than in milk. It is much more efficient than drinking a bottle of milk” – Herwig Bernaert, Barry Callebaut.

“We are looking to help the sustainable growing of cocoa in Western Africa through a system of certification of the sector that could benefit other commodities. It will guarantee a credible process to monitor and report on labour practices throughout the entire cocoa sector” – Joanna Scott, consultant on cocoa certification.