Reformulation – on the increase?.

20th March 2017

Off the back of its recent announcement of reducing sugar by 10% in its confectionery, Nestlé has called for greater regulations in the fight against obesity.

Just days before Public Health England is due to announce industry reformulation targets, Nestlé claimed the voluntary approach under the Childhood Obesity Plan would not go far enough to tackle the health crisis. Dame Fiona Kendrick, chairman and CEO of Nestlé UK&Ireland, has urged ministers to bring in regulations that could ensure a level playing field between supermarkets, their suppliers and the ‘fragmented’ out-of-home sector, as well as incentivise investment in making products healthier.

Interestingly, the rest of the article highlights the issues within the out-of-home sector, where Kendrick focuses her fire, “There are some organisations, such as the British Hospitality Association, that are doing a great job but they are not the entire industry. We think this has to be the entire industry across all channels.”

The Grocer then adds it understands there has been widespread disquiet among suppliers at the lack of participation by the out-of-home sector in the recent voluntary talks on reformulation. With one senior supplier adding “If PHE are going to be addressing things like calories out of home, they really will have to start thinking about fragmented independents. There are massive numbers of kebab shops. Just think about the amount of calories you get from those horrible chicken shops.”

This isn’t the only article in The Grocer to talk about reformulation, as another highlights how reformulations are rocketing as the wellbeing trend takes hold.

According to new data from the Consumer Goods Forum, the world’s leading FMCG brands reformulated over 180,000 products to be “healthier and safer” in 2016.

The global organisation’s latest Health & Wellness Progress Report said there was a 125% increase in reformulations year on year from 80,000. With the latest battle against obesity, the CGF report showed sodium and sugar were most often targeted for removal from food and drink, while wholegrains and vitamins were the most common nutrients to be added.

However, while the profusion of reformulations tapped concerns about wellbeing, they were largely out of commercial self-interest; ‘delivering positive change while pleasing shareholders’. The most advanced names in FMCG were leading the way in reformulation, mentioning Nestlé’s recent pledge to strip 10% of sugar from its UK confectionery.

CGF MD Peter Freedman has said British shoppers were “reasonably aware and sensitised” to wellbeing matters. UK grocery was “more advanced” in making consumers aware of public health issues.

There will of course be plenty of opinions on reformulation, but as long as it can deliver positive attitudes towards health and wellbeing, we at Stir welcome the changes.


Insight taken from The Grocer (18.03.17)