Director of communications, Food and Drink Federation
The constant pressure to keep changing the recipes of your products, so that they are lower in salt or fat is I know only too well a source of real frustration for bakers.
Any recipe development poses very significant technical, financial and consumer challenges that companies have to overcome; every change needs to be done in a way that does not impact taste, quality or price. But no matter how much you do and the UK industry is at the cutting edge of such developments it seems there is always someone asking you to keep pushing the boun-daries; to do more reformulation; to take more risks with your brands.
The question I am now being asked by our members is whether or not things will change after the general election? In short, the answer is an emphatic ’no’. Like it or not, the focus on reformulation will still be topping the political agenda, irrespective of which Party is elected.
I say that because the current government has put reformulation right at the heart of its public health agenda. And the Tories have recently unveiled their plans to create a new Department for Public Health which will, among other things, encourage the industry to agree further objectives to reduce salt, saturated fats and sugar levels in food and drink products.
What may change is the way in which such work is conducted. The Tories have also committed to focus the Food Standards Agency on safety issues, transferring its nutrition responsibilities to the new Department for Public Health. Clearly, such a change would have a massive impact on the way that government interacts with industry on these issues and would change the broader political debate about food and health issues.
Irrespective of who is leading these conversations, however, I predict reformulation will remain a key talking point. You have been warned!