Big food rejects criticism of HFSS products

More than half of the ‘flagship’ products produced for the UK market by five of the world’s largest food companies are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), new research suggests.

Researchers from Action on Salt, the Queen Mary University of London-based think tank backed by ShareAction, have identified what they describe as ‘100 key flagship products’ made by Danone, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Nestle and Unilever. More than half of these products would be considered unhealthy and given a red color coded warning label according to the UK Nutrient Scoring System.

Additionally, of the products surveyed that were included in the Department of Health’s 2020 salt reduction program, more than a third did not meet their respective health goals.

“It is a national scandal that most of these big food companies are brazenly contributing to the number of people needlessly dying and suffering from stroke and heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the UK. Improving the nutritional content of foods by reformulating recipes with less salt, sugar, and saturated fat is by far the most important strategy for preventing obesity and heart disease.”said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and president of Action on Salt.

“Fundamentally, we need these companies to be more accountable and the Government to take full control with strong measures to include mandatory targets for reformulation, well-enforced marketing restrictions and promotions (including reducing the delay to ban multiple purchases and advertising) and better food labeling requirements.

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