More than 500 Spanish food and consumer goods companies have pledged to reduce the saturated fat, salt and sugar content of their products following the launch of a government health drive.
Called the Collaboration Plan, the voluntary commitment campaign was launched on 5 February by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, together with the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), Food Navigator said on 6 February.
According to the ministry, the plan – which would be rolled out through to 2020 – covered food and drink products that contributed 44.5% of the total energy intake of an average Spanish family.
Producers of prepared dishes, such as chicken nuggets and pre-made lasagne, would reduce saturated fat and salt by 10%, while dairy product manufacturers said they would cut sugar by a similar 10%.
In salted snacks, including potato crisps and popcorn, salt content would be cut 13.8% and saturated fat by 10%, while producers of biscuits and other baked products would settle on reducing saturated fat and sugar by 5%.
Condiment manufacturers would reduce the sugar and salt content of their products, such as ketchup and mayonnaise, by 18% and 16% respectively.
Caterers to hospitals and schools said they would use leaner cuts of meat and cut back on pre-cooked and fried foods in favour of pulses, fish and vegetables, while their supplies said they would reduce the use of sugar and salt in their single-serving sachets.
FIAB president Tomás Pascual Gómez-Cuétara said the initiative responded to the will of consumers and the industry to provide more responsible and healthier food choices, although he added that it was important to remember that not all products could be reformulated due to technological, legal and/or food safety issues.
“Many sectors have also been reducing the content of these nutrients for some time. Especially during the last decade, Spanish food and beverage manufacturers have made considerable progress in this field, such as the reduction achieved in the content of sugar, salt and trans fatty acids of industrial origin in Spanish food,” Gómez-Cuétara said.