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Mars UK claims saturated fat reduction breakthrough

By Jane Byrne , 19-Jan-2010
Last updated on 20-Jan-2010 at 09:43 GMT

Mars and Snickers bars in the UK will have at least a 15 per cent reduction in saturated fats from summer 2010 following a reformulation breakthrough, claims Mars UK.

The chocolate maker said the reduction will also be replicated in other core brands such as Milky Way, Topic and Flyte, with a taste panel of 350 experts confirming that the taste or quality of the products has not been compromised as a result of the reformulation.

Mars UK said the development, in which the company invested €10m and five years of R&D time, will enable the removal of more than 600 tonnes of saturated fat per year from the UK diet, and the company added that the step is the latest in its ongoing commitment to improve its products’ nutritional composition.

The company’s ‘Raising the Bar’ programme also targets the removal of artificial colours and the minimisation of trans fatty acid levels in its range.

Industry assocation, Caobisco told this publication that it believes the commitment from Mars UK is positive for consumers and will improve and enlarge the choice of confectionery products. "We believe that it is also important to allow companies to communicate to consumers on those improvments. We think that Caobisco members' products have a role to play in a balanced diet when eaten with moderation."

The announcement from Mars UK comes as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) kicks off its second campaign on saturated fat reduction, and the chocolate maker said that it has worked closely with the FSA over the past two years on their Saturated Fat and Energy Intake (SFEI) programme.

Corinne Vaughan, deputy head of nutrition at the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), said that the scientific evidence is clear - a diet too high in saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease: "It’s crucial we both encourage industry to reformulate where possible and offer practical advice to the public so we can all choose a healthier diet."

The average Briton consumes 20 per cent more than the government's recommended amount of saturated fat.

According to the FSA's National Diet & Nutrition survey, the highest contributors of saturated fat to the UK diet are, in descending, order dairy products, including cheese, followed by meat and meat products, including meat pies, pastries and burgers, followed by fat spreads, including butter, then biscuits, buns, cakes and pastries, and finally chocolate confectionery.

Meanwhile, Confectionerynews.com recently reported on a new low fat ingredient targeted at chocolate makers developed by Fuji Oils Europe.

The global producer of oils and fats for the chocolate and confectionary industry said its low fat Redusat, which was awarded a Food Ingredients Excellence Awards 2009 at the trade show FiE in Frankfurt in November, retains the same structure as saturated fats.

Peter Claerhout, sales director at Fuji Oil Europe, told this publication that the new ingredient is based on pure vegetable fat and can be used in wafer coatings and in cereal and chocolate bars to reduce saturated fatty acids by up to 60 per cent.

He added that the company worked for more than three years on the new type of low SAFA-fats ingredient, and has applied for a patent on it.

Claerhout explained that a processor using the ingredient would require tempering equipment to ensure optimal texture and mouth feel in the finished product.

“Redusat has very good melting properties and heat resistance up to 25° C,” he added.

Several of the larger confectionery firms are currently trialling the ingredient in some of their brands, continued Claerhout. He said that the first wave of finished products integrating Fuji’s low fat filling expected to be market ready by mid 2010.

According to Claerhout, Redusat can be provided as a ready-to-use filling or cream or in fat form, depending on a processor’s requirements.

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