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Small Businesses in Scotland Cut Salt Fat Calories in Foods

29 December 2014

SCOTLAND - Butchers, bakers and other small and medium-sized food producers across Scotland have been lowering the salt, fat and calories in products, in some cases by over 50 per cent, as part of an innovative industry and Scottish Government partnership.

From shortbread to sausages, Empire biscuits to butteries, the recipes of a range of foods made in Scotland have been reviewed and improved to lower the energy or salt content while maintaining each product’s popular appeal.

Since 2011, small and medium-sized producers have received free, tailored recipe reformulation support from Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF)’s programme funded by the Scottish Government (Health).

Now other producers can take inspiration from their peers on how to reformulate their recipes for health thanks to a new guide published today.

Reformulation for Health: Guidance for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) captures the SFDF Reformulation Programme’s success stories which show the changes that companies can make without affecting the quality and while keeping their customers happy. SFDF’s new resource also sets out a five-step guide for companies to use at the start of their reformulation journey.

A snapshot of the success stories captured in Reformulation for Health:

• Stormness-based bakery Stockan’s reduced the salt content in its oatcake range by 20%;
• Butcher Skinner of Kippen reduced the salt content of its steak pie gravy by 50%;
• Aberdeenshire-based Chalmers Bakery reduced the sugar content of the shortbread base used for its empire biscuits by 17% which has led to a calorie reduction; and the fat content of its pastry shells by 30%;
• Moray based Maclean’s Highland Bakery has reduced the salt content of its buttery range by 25%.

SFDF also highlights the importance of ingredients suppliers’ reformulation efforts, the benefits of which can be felt across the food chain. During the Programme, four of the leading seasoning companies in the UK, Dalesman, Dalziel, Kerry, and Scobie & Junor, created new lower salt sausage seasonings which are now accessible to hundreds of butchers across Scotland which will help them to make their products healthier.

Dr Colette Backwell, Director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, said: “For more than a decade the UK’s larger food and drink producers have been evolving their ranges to reduce calories, salt and saturates and add nutrients such as fibre to change the recipes of old favourites and create healthier options.

“Over the last three years, SFDF’s Reformulation Programme has helped smaller companies, who typically do not have a significant technical new product development resource or in-house reformulation, to do their bit in improving consumer health. We hope their efforts will inspire others.”

Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Public Health, Scottish Government, said: “This guide is an example of what can be achieved when industry and government work together. It demonstrates also that although the companies themselves may be small, their influence over the sector and impact on consumers can be great.

“I hope that what you read in these pages will inspire further innovation in reformulation. There is much more work to be done but together we can play our part to make Scotland a healthier nation.”

Cameron Skinner, Owner, Skinner of Kippen, said: “Working with SFDF’s Reformulation Programme has significantly improved our understanding of the ingredients in our products.

“This insight and understanding has not only helped us make our products healthier, it has also ultimately helped avoid wastage, improve quality and enhance product and business profitability.”


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