Small to medium food producers, including bakers and butchers across Scotland, have been lowering the salt, fat and calorie content in products by as much as 50%. 

The reductions have been made as part of an innovative industry and Scottish Government Partnership. The recipes of a range of foods made in Scotland have been reviewed and improved to lower the energy or salt content.

Since 2011, small to medium-sized businesses have received free tailored recipes from Scottish Food and Drink Federation’s (SFDF) programme funded by the Scottish Government.

A new guide for healthier recipes has been published: Reformulation for Health: Guidance for SMEs (small and medium enterprises).

Examples in the guide include Stromness-based bakery Stockan’s reducing the salt content in its oatcake range by 20%; Aberdeenshire-based Chalmers Bakery reducing the sugar content of the shortbread base used for its empire biscuits by 17% – which has led to a calorie reduction – and the fat content of its pastry shells by 30%; and Moray-based Maclean’s Highland Bakery, which has cut the salt content of its buttery range by 25%.

SFDF also highlights the importance of ingredients suppliers’ reformulation efforts.

Dr Colette Backwell, director of SFDF, said: “For more than a decade the UK’s larger food and drink producers have been evolving their ranges to reduce calories, salt and saturates and add nutrients such as fibre to change the recipes of old favourites and create healthier options.

"Over the last three years, SFDF’s Reformulation Programme has helped smaller companies, who typically do not have a significant technical new product development resource or in-house reformulation, to do their bit in improving consumer health.”

Maureen Watt MSP, minister for public health, Scottish Government, said: “This guide is an example of what can be achieved when industry and government work together. It demonstrates also that although the companies themselves may be small, their influence over the sector and impact on consumers can be great.”