Foodservice supplier Compass is the latest addition to the growing number of caterers and food manufacturers who have signed up to the Government’s new calorie reduction Responsibility Deal pledge in a bid to reduce growing obesity rates.
Compass has committed to ‘putting health at the heart of its business’ by reducing the calorie content by up to 10 per cent in over 5,000 of its recipes. Unilever, Kerry Foods and Whitbread are among those who have also signed up to the Deal.
"As the UK’s largest foodservice provider, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to provide our customers with the information they need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet,” said Ian Sarson, group managing director for CompassGroup UK & Ireland.
“Adopting this new pledge will be a significant challenge for our business, given the thousands of recipes we will be reformulating, but we believe it is the right thing to do in order to give our customers a healthy and informed choice. I am very confident that we will rise to this challenge and continue to lead the industry in this area.”
Over the past year, Compass has already taken significant strides in its health and wellbeing programme; almost eight tonnes of salt have been sifted out of the business by a reduction in the size of Compass’ salt sachets.
Whitbread, owner of Beefeater, Premier Inn and Costa Coffee, is currently reviewing pledges to reduce the salt, total and saturated fat across all of its brands, and ensuring its products are free from transfats.
The group is also reviewing responsible drinking, and has agreed that over 80 per cent of its products on shelf (by December 2013) will have labels with clear unit content, NHS guidelines and a warning about drinking when pregnant.
England has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe and some of the highest rates in the developed world. Over 60 per cent of adults and a third of 10 and 11 year olds are overweight or obese.
“Eating and drinking too many calories is at the heart of the nation’s obesity problem,” explained Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. “We all have a role to play – from individuals to public, private and non-governmental organisations.
A great start
“If we are going to cut five billion calories from our national diet. It is an ambitious challenge but the Responsibility Deal has made a great start.
“This pledge is just the start of what must be a bigger, broader commitment from the food industry. But it is a great step in the right direction and will help millions of us eat and drink fewer calories.”
A growing number of businesses in the pub industry are also signing up to the Deal . Diageo, Heineken, Accolade Wines, Molson Coors and Brand Phoenix are among the manufacturers that will offer a wider range of lower strength drinks by 2015.