Press release

Thousands of tonnes of saturated fat to be taken out of the nation’s diet

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, launches the Responsibility Deal Saturated Fat Reduction Pledge.

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More than one and a half Olympic size swimming pools of saturated fat will be removed from the nation’s diet over the next year as part of a drive to cut the amount of saturated fat in our food.

Almost half of the food manufacturing and retail industry has signed up to the Responsibility Deal Saturated Fat Reduction Pledge by agreeing to reduce the amount of saturated fat in our food and change their products to make them healthier.

Cutting the amount of saturated fat we eat by just fifteen per cent could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths every year from conditions such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke.

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said:

One in six male deaths and one in nine female deaths are from coronary heart disease – this is why it’s critical that we challenge the way we eat and that we all make changes where we can.

It’s hugely encouraging that companies providing almost half of the food available on the UK market have committed to this new Responsibility Deal pledge and they are leading the way to give their customers healthier products and lower fat alternatives.

Some of the companies removing saturated fat from their products are:

  • Nestlé – which will remove 3,800 tonnes of saturated fat from over a billion Kit Kat bars per year by reformulating the recipe

  • Tesco – which will remove 32 tonnes of saturated fat from products such as breadsticks

  • Morrisons – which will be reformulating its spreads range to reduce saturated fat, this will remove approximately 50 tonnes

  • Aramark – which will increase the amount of 1% fat milk it supplies across its sites and increase the training it gives to its chefs

  • Cricketer Farm – which will help one retailer remove 1.5 tonnes of saturated fat by switching to their half fat cheese

Other companies that have pledged to make changes to their products are:

  • Subway – will reduce the amount of saturated fat in their Kids Pak™ by more than 70 per cent, replacing cookies and crisps with a healthier option which provides one of a child’s recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables

  • Compass – which serves more than a million meals a day across their 7,000 sites, will be swapping to lower fat ingredients and promoting healthier menus as part of the pledge

  • Aldi – which will start a programme of saturated fat reformulation, explore reducing portion sizes and educating consumers and employees to choose healthier options

  • Sainsbury’s – which will continue to reformulate recipes to reduce saturated fat

  • CH & Co – which will be reformulating some of its top selling cakes

  • Unilever – which will continue to invest in spreads and blends that provide healthier options; in addition it will promote healthy eating by encouraging swaps in cooking and baking with lower saturated fat alternatives

  • Mondelez International – which will reformulate products across its portfolio including BelVita, Oreo and Barny

There are a number of ways that companies can lower the amount of saturated fat in our diets, including reformulating recipes so they include less fat, and introducing new products with lower fat.

Food and Drink Federation Director General, Melanie Leech said:

Today’s announcement yet again underlines food and drink manufacturers’ determination to play a full part in supporting improved public health.

These significant commitments to reduce saturated fat in a wide range of products build on the achievements already delivered by a number of our members which empower consumers to make healthier choices appropriate for their lifestyles.

The Responsibility Deal brings government and industry together to tackle public health issues and improve the health of the nation.

Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network, Professor Susan Jebb said:

The Responsibility Deal has made great progress in changing our eating options and habits.

From the introduction of front of pack labelling to today’s announcement, everyone involved can be proud of the work done so far – but we know more can be done.

These commitments to help reduce saturated fat are an important step forward. They recognise that too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels and cause heart disease and premature deaths which is why it’s fantastic that so many companies have committed to helping people cut down on their consumption.

This development means we now have a suite of Responsibility Deal pledges that help companies cut fat, sugar and salt which together will help consumers achieve a healthier diet and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Background information

For media queries contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5222.

Published 26 October 2013