New report details progress of food & drink reformulation

February 20, 2019

Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group the represents the food and drink industries, today launched a new report (see attached) that shows the decreases in sugar and saturated fat in Irish diets between 2005 and 2017 as a result of voluntary undertakings by food and drink companies. 

The report, entitled “The Evolution of Food and Drink in Ireland, 2005 – 2017”, was launched by Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, Linda Stuart-Trainor, Director of Prepared Consumer Foods in FDI and Dr. Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Speaking at the launch, Ms Stuart-Trainor stated: “Food and drink companies are constantly innovating in response to changing consumer lifestyles, tastes and demands. This report makes a major contribution to the store of public knowledge on intakes of sugar, salt, saturated fat, total fat and energy. It analyses how reformulation and new product development by the food and drink industry interacts with consumer choices to impact on the nutrient intakes of adults, teenagers, children and pre-schoolers.”

The main findings of the report are:

Direct reformulation of products on the market in both 2005 and 2017:
· Sodium reduced by 28%
· Saturated fat reduced by 10.1%

· Sugar reduced by 8%

· Energy reduced by 1.6%

· Total fat reduced by 0.3%

Reductions in sugar intake between 2005 and 2017:
· Adult sugar intake reduced by 0.8g/day 
· Teen sugar intake reduced by 2.7g/day
· Child sugar intake reduced by 3.2g/day
· Pre-schooler sugar intake reduced by 2.0g/day

Reductions in saturated fat intake between 2005 and 2017:
· Adult saturated fat intake reduced by 0.5g/day 
· Teen saturated fat intake reduced by 0.2g/day
· Child saturated fat intake reduced by 0.2g/day
· Pre-schooler saturated fat intake remained constant

Results for the other nutrients were more modest, with sodium, total fat and energy intake remaining relatively stable over the period. 

Ms Stuart-Trainor added: “This report demonstrates the food and beverage industry’s ongoing commitment to the societal effort to tackle obesity and improve public health. Reformulation is a lengthy and complex journey; each step in the right direction counts. For many products, changes must be gradual in order to ensure consumer acceptance and lock in the health benefits.”

Ireland has established itself as an international leader in the investigation of food and drink industry reformulation efforts. A previous Food Drink Ireland report in 2016 gave a first look at data in this regard. The report launched today represents a significant progression of the research methodology, taking a more holistic approach and including new products placed on the market since 2005. 

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy added: “The presence of FSAI and other policy stakeholders at today’s launch highlights the importance of continued collaboration between government and industry when it comes to improving public health.”


The evolution of food and drink in Ireland 2005 - 2017 pdf | 3651.4 kb