Food manufacturers should prepare for increased scrutiny over nutritive claims following growing commitments from retailers to move towards selling healthier products, according to food safety certification firm, Lloyd’s Register.

The research claims there is a growing trend in major UK retailers making commitments to selling healthier foods and taking the lead in supporting the fight to tackle obesity. Lloyd’s Register is now warning food manufacturers that they should prepare for added pressure to rethink how they approach nutritive and functional claims in their products.

Kimberly Carey Coffin, global technical director at Lloyd’s Register, said: “Governments and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with health and nutrition, due to rising statistics around obesity and diabetes across the world. We can therefore expect to see more retailers commit to selling healthier foods, and manufacturers must be prepared to adapt.

“Manufacturers must do all they can to ensure that healthy alternatives are authentic and can be substantiated.”

“As part of this, manufacturers will need to meet the challenge to prioritise nutrients and potential health benefits in future product development. However, they must be alert and ensure that any nutritive or functional claims, such as lowering cholesterol or boosting immunity, can be substantiated. If processes for evidence-based validation of claims are not in place, brand reputation may be at risk.”

Research from Lloyd’s Register suggests that food issues impact brand trust, with one in five UK shoppers having changed brands following reports of a food safety incident or product recall.

Kimberly adds: “Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about their dietary decisions, selecting foods that deliver health and wellbeing, and it is reasonable to assume that scrutiny will grow in the area of nutritive and functional claims. Manufacturers must do all they can to ensure that healthy alternatives are authentic and can be substantiated.”