You are here:

Healthy Eating programme newsletter - issue four

Online version

Welcome to our fourth Healthy Eating newsletter, where we update you on the most recent developments of our Healthy Eating programme.

It’s been a busy time for our Healthy Eating programme. You can pick up the main news here and also link through to various downloads if you want to dig deeper. 



Identifying the challenges

We wanted to get a deeper understanding of the challenges food and drink companies face when they set out to change their products to be healthier and that’s why we issued our survey.

We were delighted to get 217 responses spanning manufacturing, retailing and catering with over half from small or medium sized companies. Many thanks if you were one of these. Your help was invaluable.

Reformulation is clearly a popular activity. 76% of companies in our survey had conducted some reformulation and another 8% had plans to get started. Usually it ends happily. Of those, who’d received any feedback from consumers, it was 83% positive.

Others told us their reformulations had gone unnoticed and that was fine by them. Companies often make a series of small steps that add up to a big journey over time, taking consumers gradually with them.

There’s a lot more in our findings and we’ll use all the insight to provide support for smaller companies. We’ll keep you updated.

Article: Inspiring more businesses to improve the nutritional content of their products

Read our article on how IGD set out to understand the challenges and barriers that reformulation can present for businesses and how we can use this insight to help more businesses reformulate for healthier products.



Infographic: Reformulation survey results

The results from our survey are being used to develop new resources that will help and inspire more companies to start their reformulation journey.



We all need inspiration now and again and this can come from hearing about other companies who have tackled and solved similar problems. So we’ve been collecting the best recent case studies we could find and they are inspiring.

Take this example from Greggs. It wanted to update its offer and began by listening to customers. The clear message back was that many people wanted help to eat more healthily. So Greggs developed a new Balanced Choice range, spanning more than 50 products which has quickly grown to represent 10% of their sales.

This range includes some entirely new products but Greggs has also improved the health profile of some old favourites. For instance its sandwiches now have 12% less fat and 16% less salt. Greggs approached this with care, consulting lots of internal and external taste panels and making a series of small changes.

So now an iconic food to go retailer, probably best known for its sausage rolls, is updating its reputation and winning awards for health.

The government’s approach

On 18th August the Department of Health published the Childhood obesity: a plan for action.

We’re always interested in new reformulation stories, so if you’d like to share yours let us know through

Sugar reduction plays a big part with nine priority categories identified and targets for these to be set in 2017. We know from our survey that lots of companies are making good progress in reducing sugar so this will be a big feature of our case studies and also the help we offer to companies next year.

back to top ^

Nutrition information on pack

Tackling confusion

One of our aims is to help and inspire more shoppers to use the nutrition information on pack to make healthier choices more often.

Various factors are getting in the way including confusion surrounding the information provided. For instance, the concept of Reference Intakes isn’t widely understood.

So, armed with lots of research, we’ve been working with marketing experts to develop some messages to reduce the confusion. We’re just about to test these messages and will share the results in early 2017.

We’ll then be asking food and drink companies and some other organisations to help spread the messages.

Promoting best practice

There’s been a lot of progress made over the last decade in providing nutrition information on front of pack and it’s now more consistent than it ever used to be. However, there’s still quite a lot of variation and as our research shows, this slows down shopping and acts as a deterrent.

So we recently held a workshop with company nutrition, artwork and packaging experts to agree ways to converge over time. We’ll use this to produce a best practice guide which incorporates all the regulations and existing guidelines.

When we have a first draft we’ll invite your views before we publish the results.

The guidelines will be voluntary but with the goodwill of companies we can make it less time consuming and simpler for shoppers to make healthy choices.

New research: Nutritional information on pack

Download your FREE copy of our new shopper research exploring the barriers to using nutrition information on pack.



Data and Technology

IGD is working with GS1- the global ‘not for profit’ organisation that delivers data standards and manages the barcode system. We’ve been supporting GS1’s Digital DNA initiative to consult and recommend how to ensure product data is always kept accurate, up to date and accessible.

This will become increasingly important as more and more shoppers use apps and other online tools to support their food choices.

The study is almost complete and we’ll be ready to share the conclusions with you soon.

back to top ^

Healthy eating in the workplace

Would your company like to take part in ground-breaking research to help your employees eat more healthily at work?

We did it – our first experiments are underway!

Excuse the celebratory tone but this has involved a huge amount of groundwork to prepare six sites across five companies spread across the country and to set up all the data so we can assess the interventions.

We can’t reveal any more yet because that would affect the experiments but we are advanced in preparing the next twelve sites for early 2017.

We’re also planning further ahead and inviting volunteers to participate in a healthy eating in the workplace trial. You will need to follow the rules and provide the data in confidence, so that we and the University of Cambridge can assess the results. But this is the chance to be part of something groundbreaking!

If you would like your company to help lead the way in healthier eating at work, contact and we’ll be in touch.

back to top ^

More information

If you would like to receive regular information about the Healthy Eating programme click the button below to subscribe to this newsletter.

This collaborative programme spans the entire food chain and has been co-created by IGD and industry. Working with and through companies, the programme will aim to encourage healthier eating in the UK. The programme will be formed of three parts: nutrition information on pack, healthy eating in the workplace, and reformulation.