89% of Scots have at least one health goal and are actively seeking healthier food, according to research by Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland with Levercliff.
The research looked at consumer attitudes towards health and wellbeing and what drives them when purchasing food. It also gave an insight into small to medium-sized Scottish food manufacturers’ experiences of making their products healthier as well as identifying any gaps and challenges.
Reformulation is rated as one of the most effective ways the food and drink industry can help to target obesity. This is where a product is made healthier by amending a recipe, providing clearer information on portion size or changing the way it is prepared.
FDF Scotland’s Reformulation for Health programme, which is funded by Scottish Government, is helping small and medium-sized food companies to make their products healthier. This includes reducing the amount of salt, sugar, fat and calories, limiting portion sizes and increasing the amount of fibre or fruits and vegetables.
“Health is increasingly being seen by consumers as a key driver for purchasing food products. This research will support companies to better understand consumer attitudes towards reformulation and ultimately help the Scottish people to improve their diets.”
It was found that over two thirds (68%) of Scottish adults support the idea of such a programme and consumers are actively looking for food with healthy product claims.
The majority of the 42 Scottish food businesses that took part in the survey have reformulated their products – reducing salt, sugar and fat is the most successful way they have achieved this. More than half of these companies think their efforts have helped them attract new consumers.
There are barriers for companies that are considering changing their recipes, according to the research. Achieving a comparable taste and texture without increasing the cost of foods was found to be the biggest challenge.
Joanne Burns, reformulation for health manager at FDF Scotland, said: “This research has highlighted the key challenges and barriers food businesses face when reformulating their products. This will help FDF Scotland to effectively tailor the support provided to food businesses, through our Reformulation for Health Programme, to allow them to meet consumer demand for healthier products and to improve the health of their local communities.”
David Craig, director Levercliff, said: “Health is increasingly being seen by consumers as a key driver for purchasing food products. This research will support companies to better understand consumer attitudes towards reformulation and ultimately help the Scottish people to improve their diets.”