New report could take bite out of confectionery industry

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Hospitals and sports centres around the UK are contradicting
Government health campaigns, according to a recent report from the
Soil Association.

The report suggests vending machines in leisure and healthcare facilities are stocking confectionery, snacks and fizzy drinks that are of poor nutritional quality and contain high amounts of sugar and fats. This could cause a blow for the food industry if these retailers were forced to provide alternative refreshments for the public, keeping in mind the Mintel report last week that said chocolate biscuit sales within the UK had already declined 17 per cent between 2001 and 2006 due to the rise in obesity concerns. The Soil Association releases this at the same time as the confectionery and snacks industries are being encouraged to look at the nutritional content of their products. The Soil Association has suggested within the report that the Department of Health should make sure all NHS trusts and local authorities should provide healthier choices. "Standards should be developed that include making healthier choices available in vending machines and on retail concourses as well as delivering healthier meal choices in restaurants and staff canteens,"​ the report said. The suggestions include encouraging caterers to choose foods with reduced levels of fat, sugar and salt, avoid artificial preservatives, flavourings, colourings and sweeteners, as well as focussing on healthier alternatives such as dried fruit and nuts. "Crisps, cakes and sugary drinks are on sale at theGreatOrmondStreetHospitalfor Children. Future cardiovascular health is linked to high intakes of saturated fat and salt among children,"​ the report stated. However, the food industry is already looking at ways of improving the nutritional content of its confectionery and snacks products. Earlier this year, Kellogg said it will set a new standard of nutrition by which tto advertise its products to kids. This nutrition criteria, which "set a new standard"​ of social responsibility,​ will also guide targeted future innovation and product development, the company said. The firm's ultimate aim is to provide consumers with "even more product choices with enhanced nutritional value".​ Leatherhead Foods said in June that the market for low and light foods was increasing steadily worldwide as the industry was meeting consumer demands for these products. Nonetheless, the US led the "low and light" market with product sales worth $38bn (€28bn). UK consumers spent the most on these foods per capita, throwing $164 (€122) per person at these foods, compared to American spending of $125 (€93), and $115 (€86) in Australia.

Related topics: Markets

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