Healthy business

Posted on 5 May 2009 by The Manufacturer

Food and Drink manufacturers in the East Midlands are being offered help in making their products healthier by The Food and Drink Forum.

The organisation aims to help firms lower saturated fat levels, without compromising flavour, and will also provide support on labelling issues. It is offering one-to-one sessions through which it will determine the best course of action it can take for the manufacturer.

It is working with labelling experts from Trading Standards and nutrition, diet and flavour experts from The University of Nottingham on the project.

Despite the credit crunch and lower amounts of money being spent on food overall, sales of healthier food products are rising.

Research firm Mintel has revealed forecasts that suggest total sales in ‘healthier’ products in the bakery, dairy, snacks, confectionery and soft drinks categories alone were due to rise by 25% between 2007 and 2012.

And The Food and Drink Forum said it wants to make sure manufacturers in its region can “get a slice of the pie.”

“This is the perfect chance for food firms to discover how changes to their manufacturing processes could help them increase sales,” said Richard Wigley, The Food & Drink Forum’s food technical manager, who is running the project.

“Mintel research estimates that sales of healthier food options are worth billions and are around 10% of total consumer expenditure on food and drink.

“The Food & Drink Forum will be working with food manufacturers in the region to help them in a number of ways. It may be by illustrating how they could reformulate their products so that they contain less saturated fat, or it may be by suggesting ways of producing lower fat alternatives.”

The Food & Drink Forum is fronting the project on behalf of the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the government chapters it reports to. The project is part of a wider initiative to get Britains eating healthier, as the country on the whole is eating 20% more saturated fat than it ought to.