Late last month the Roadmap for Action on Food Product Improvement was launched at a two-day conference organized by the Netherlands Presidency.
The European initiative is endorsed by member states, food businesses and non-governmental organizations, and aims to achieve reduced levels of salt, added sugar and saturated fats in foods in a bid to combat the prevalence of overweight, obesity and other diet-related diseases.
Expert working groups will be set up to agree principles for public-private collaboration and share best practice for standards on logos, advertising to children and maximum levels of nutrients in foods.
The roadmap flags up in particular the rise of obesity among children as being a serious concern that asks for “strong concerted action”.
Speaking at the conference, the Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said reformulation targets were needed, such as a reduction in added sugars to processed foods by 10% by 2020, but that this wasn’t enough to tackle obesity. “I have in mind – taxation, marketing, advertising, education, reducing accessibility to unhealthy food, and awareness-rising.”
Commenting on the publication, Gilles Morel, President of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “We welcome this Netherlands Presidency initiative which will position product formulation high on the EU policy agenda. We look forward to share our industry experiences and activities and constructively contribute … With the right conditions and support we believe that working together against a shared ambition we can drive more meaningful change.”
Morel added that he welcomed the idea that industry initiatives should be supported by nutrition campaigns and special programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises that are often less equipped to initiate reformulation activities than larger multinationals.
The publication can be downloaded here.