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Public Health Responsibility Deal announces new food pledge

As part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal a Calorie Reduction Pledge has been announced by the English Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. This pledge will cut and cap calories in some of the world’s biggest food and drink manufacturers and best known brands.

Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Coca-Cola Great Britain, Kerry Foods, Kraft, Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo, Premier Foods, Unilever, Beefeater (Whitbread), Subway and contract caterer Compass have all signed up to the Responsibility Deal’s calorie reduction pledge. The companies will actively promote and provide incentives for customers to choose lower calorie options. For many of the companies these examples are just one part of a wider calorie reduction strategy.

English Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said:
“Eating and drinking too many calories is at the heart of the nation’s obesity problem.
“We all have a role to play – from individuals to public, private and non-governmental organisations – if we are going to cut five billion calories from our national diet. It is an ambitious challenge but the Responsibility Deal has made a great start.
“This pledge is just the start of what must be a bigger, broader commitment from the food industry. But it is a great step in the right direction and will help million of us eat and drink fewer calories.”

Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network Dr Susan Jebb said:
“I am delighted that these first companies are leading the way on this calorie reduction programme which is vital to tackle obesity and improve public health. This is a very encouraging start displaying some creative and varied ways to encourage behaviour change.
“I am impatient to make progress, but it will take time to change the eating habits of the nation. This is a marathon not a sprint and we all have to commit to support this programme of work for years to come. I know some other companies are already developing their plans but we need everyone, all companies – from all sectors and all sizes – to step up and act for the good of the nation’s health.”

British Retail Consortium Food Director, Andrew Opie, said:
“Responsible retailers are dedicated to helping people make healthier choices. The new commitments on calorie reduction complement other work retailers are doing in areas such as calorie information, salt reduction and alcohol units. The next phase must be to consolidate the excellent foundation which so many businesses have helped to put in place.”

FDF Director General, Melanie Leech said:
“Recognising the importance of the government’s Call to Action on Obesity in England, FDF has been working constructively alongside other stakeholders through the Public Health Responsibility Deal to develop a calorie reduction pledge. We welcome the approach of a menu of options, which should allow as many companies as possible to support improved public health whilst continuing to make a major contribution to theUK’s economic recovery. A number of FDF companies are making immediate commitments to support the calorie reduction pledge and we would expect other companies from right across the food and drink industry to join them over the next few months.”

Source: Physical Activity and Nutrition Networks Wales