Making everyday food healthier
02 February 2023
By Joanne Burns, Reformulation for Health Manager, Food and Drink Federation Scotland
As we start a new year many people – including myself – set themselves goals to eat more healthily. Did you know that many food and drink producers are already helping you to do this by making everyday food healthier?
We are supporting food businesses in their efforts through our Reformulation for Health Programme. This programme which is funded by the Scottish Government was launched in 2019 to improve the health of commonly consumed products in Scotland. Since its launch we have helped to remove hundreds of millions of calories and tonnes of salt from the Scottish diet. This huge achievement is down to the food and drink companies, from across the Scottish food supply chain, who have worked with us to make changes to their recipes that are making a real difference to the health of Scotland’s people.
For many businesses that would like to make their food healthier, the associated costs can be challenging. A typical reformulation project will incur a wide variety of costs from trialling recipe and process changes, testing the functionality of ingredient alternatives, improving production capacity and operational efficiency and nutritional and microbial testing. These additional costs can often be the deciding factor whether a business progresses with a reformulation project or not, especially during these financially difficult times. To help with this I am delighted to provide funding to a range of well-loved Scottish producers and ingredient suppliers through our Reformul8 Challenge Fund. This is the third round of funding and was made possible by receiving financial support from the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Recovery Plan. To date we have rewarded funding to 45 food producers across Scotland.
I have approved funding to a fantastic range of well-loved Scottish produce. We will be working with biscuits and confectionery manufacturers Aldomak, Dean's of Huntly and Border Biscuits. There’s a whole host of projects with meat and butchery producers including Macsween of Edinburgh, Hunters of Kinross, Simon Howie, Bells Food Group and Malcolm Allan. In addition, we are working with Growers Garden who make broccoli crisps; free from snacks manufactures Fodilicious, ingredient suppliers Cardowan Creameries and R&W Scott; and farm shop the Smiddy.
We will be supporting these producers with a breadth of interesting projects from salt reduction, fat reduction, fibre enrichment and sugar reduction. The fund will be used for a wide range of activities. This includes accessing nutritional testing and technical support, working with ingredient suppliers to access and trial new innovative solutions that can improve the health of products to developing new marketing and promotional materials. It really highlights how reformulation is bespoke and individual to each business. I can’t wait to get going with these projects!
Each of the food producers who received funding had different drivers to start their reformulation project. For some it was purely the aim to make their food healthier. Some projects will help producers to meet UK nutritional targets such as salt reduction 2024 or to prepare for legislation coming from the UK and Scottish Governments. Whilst others are working to meet front of pack labelling and health claim targets.
I am delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting our programme which has achieved great results over the past four years. I look forward to working with even more food and drink businesses.
If you are a food producer interested in finding out more about the support we could provide you please get in touch. I would also love to hear from other businesses who could help us in supporting the food and drink industry to get healthier Scottish food onto the dinner table. So, whether you are ingredient supplier, a wholesaler, retailer, caterer or in academia please reach out.
To note: This article was orginally published in the Scotsman on 31 January 2023.