“Scotland has a larder that is the envy of Europe, but we have work to do to improve our diet”

BakeryandSnacks participated in the Reformulation of FDF Scotland for HealthShowcase held at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium last week, headlined by Scottish Public Health Minister Maree Todd.

“The case for change is really obvious,”said Todd, noting that in Scotland two-thirds of the adult population and 30% of children are overweight or obese – which “increasing considerably for adults and children in the most deprived areas”.

Try the challenge

According to FDF Scotland, recipe reformulation is one of the most effective ways for the industry to improve food health.

“We work with a range of food and drink companies who have made small changes to their recipes that make a big difference to the health of Scots,”said Joanne Burns, health reformulation manager for FDF Scotland.

” We have [tackled] some fantastic projects over the past few years…and seeing an increase in the health profile of some of the products sold in Scotland.

Initiatives by Bells Food Group, Arran Dairies and Macsween of Edinburgh were highlighted, but there are also many other success stories. Top Scottish pie brand Bells has halved the salt content of its pie shells, Arran Dairies will soon launch low-calorie ice cream and Edinburgh’s Macsween is working with ingredient maker Ulrick & Short to reduce the fat content of his traditional haggis recipe.

“So we really want to celebrate the work that’s been done and the networking and the outreach over the last few years.”

Added Todd, “The Scottish Government is committed to providing practical support to small and medium-sized businesses, known as SMEs, to help them reformulate their products, making them healthier. Over the past few years we have invested over £300,000 to support SMEs, to reformulate everyday consumer products.

“And I commend Scottish businesses for taking up this challenge. You have played a vital role in improving home nutrition by removing hundreds of millions of calories from Scottish food and drink.

“It’s not just for the health of our nation, but by using these innovative practices, we can enhance our reputation as producers of healthier quality products. And while larger companies may have their own research and development departments at their disposal, other SMEs must collaborate to be successful. And that means working across sectors and with supporting agencies…so that together we can realize both the public health benefits and the business benefits of reformulation.

Scottish national chef Gary Maclean added that while Scotland’s pantry may be the envy of Europe, “We have work to do to improve our diet. It’s great to see positive action towards a healthier Scotland and to see the incredible talent we have working towards this.

“I think probably the biggest piece of advice would be to think about what you put in your products. I strongly believe that people will pay a little more for something healthier or made with quality ingredients.

“People have a real idea not only of what they are injecting into their body, but also where that food comes from? What impact does this have on the planet?

How can we help you

Along with a series of presentations by Kantar, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Grocers Federation, among others, FDF Scotland’s event provided a platform for a handful of exhibitors including low sodium producers LoSalt, Peacock Salt and Saltwell, ingredient producers Univar Solutions, Kregliner Specialties and Cardowan Creameries, and specialist service providers Scottish Center for Food Development & Innovation, and R&D tax credit consultancy ForrestBrown, among others.

“I’m here today to compel manufacturers to do something and provide them with a way to do it,”said Caroline Klinge, Sales and Marketing Director of LoSalt, a sentiment that was echoed by other exhibitors we spoke to.

“There’s a huge amount of work going on right now from a reformulation perspective and we’re really passionate about making sure companies are aware of the help that’s available to them,”said Stephen Leishman, principal consultant for ForrestBrown, noting that some reformulators may actually qualify for R&D tax relief.

concluded Todd, “Today’s event confirms that we have an absolute wealth of business, insight, marketing expertise and nutrition science alongside food technology, public health and academic research. .

“I urge each of you to seize the opportunity to connect, forge partnerships and develop joint ventures so that we can achieve this collective ambition for a healthier and wealthier Scotland.”

Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland is a division of the FDF, the voice of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.

FDF Scotland Health Reformulation Program,​funded by the Scottish Government, is designed to support SMEs with expertise and funding to make their products healthier.

Mary I. Bruner