Saturated fat reduction is set to re-emerge on the government’s nutrition agenda, with plans for the Responsibility Deal Food Network to draft new pledges later this year, BB can reveal.

This work would "supercede" previous targets set by the Food Standards Agency targets in 2009, prior to the quango’s nutrition remit being absorbed by the Department of Health (DoH) in 2010.

A DoH spokesperson told British Baker: "Work to develop a collective pledge on saturated fat will form part of the work programme for the Responsi-bility Deal (RD) Food Network commencing later this year. The current intention is to complete this work by Easter 2013."

The RD network of food businesses and public health stakeholders was set up to draft pledges to encourage product formulation changes that improve public health. While it has tackled calorie reduction, saturated fats have only received passing mention, despite being a key plank of the FSA’s agenda under the previous government.

Fats expert and consultant Geoff Talbot, who chaired BB’s roundtable summit on sat fats in 2011, said: "I’ve not seen a great deal of movement [in the baking industry] in the last 12 months. This may be because companies feel they’ve done what needed to be done to make sat fat reductions. But if nobody is kicking your backside, why are you going to do anything about it?"

Barbara Gallani, director of food safety & science at The Food & Drink Federation, said the industry had for years been "reformulating products to reduce their trans fatty acid, salt and saturated fat content, where technically possible". "Bakery products, such as biscuits and cakes, are generally higher in cereal content rather than fat and tend to be consumed as snacks rather than main meals, as occasional treats and as part of a balanced diet," she added.

This month, the government announced a consultation on food labelling reform, with a stated aim of reducing sat fats across consumers’ shopping baskets.

l See pages 30-31 for more on the issue of saturated fat