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Framework for product reformulation: The integration of four disciplines; Nutrition & health, Food technology, Legislation and Consumer perspective

Posted: 18 August 2016 | | No comments yet

Obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases are, amongst others, the result of an unbalanced diet and lifestyle. Excessive intake of energy, salt, saturated fat and sugar are leading to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes (WHO/FAO). Therefore, a healthier food intake (diet) is needed. But when is a food product healthier? From a nutritional perspective it is clear: the lower the levels of nutrients with a negative public health impact, the better the product fits in a healthy diet. However, when it comes to improving the health impact of the food supply through reformulation, other aspects are important as well. This article describes the ‘framework for product reformulation’, which integrates four essential disciplines: Nutrition & health, Food technology, Legislation and Consumer perspective.

Framework for product reformulation: The integration of four disciplines; Nutrition & health, Food technology, Legislation and Consumer perspective

Reformulation has been the subject of many studies. However, to our knowledge no articles focussing on the integration of all four disciplines have been published. Food Technology and the Consumer perspective were integrated to develop a concept of consumer-driven food product development1. Grassoet al.discussed not only the technological aspects, but also legislation and the consumer perceptions of reformulated meat products2. Buttriss described the public health challenges of the diet and the technological aspects of reformulation3. The authors concluded that a multidisciplinary approach is needed. The aim of this paper is to describe and illustrate the ‘Framework for product reformulation’ as an integrated model for reformulation processes. This framework involves four essential disciplines: Nutrition & health, Food technology, Legislation and Consumer perspective (Figure 1). Our focus is on meat and bakery products in Europe (The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Denmark), because these product groups are important contributors to the intake of energy, salt, saturated fat and sugar.

Figure 1: The four disciplines of a Reformulation process and main topics per discipline. Disciplines: Nutrition & Health, Food Technology, Legislation and Consumer’s perspective

Figure 1: The four disciplines of a Reformulation process and main topics per discipline. Disciplines: Nutrition & Health, Food Technology, Legislation and Consumer’s perspective

Nutrition & health

Decreasing the intake of energy, salt, saturated fat (SFA) and sugar has been the focus of many initiatives from government, industry and nongovernmental organisations worldwide. In 2004 the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health provided an action plan on the reduction of nutrients with negative health impact4 . National governments harmonised policy goals towards standards for food categories with the ultimate aim of helping consumers make healthier choices. Reduction of salt and trans fatty acids were the first aims, followed by saturated fat and sugar. Table 1 summarises the intake of salt, saturated fat and sugar in the three selected EU countries. The dietary intake goals (Table 1) have been translated into criteria for products or product categories. Bread, cereals and bakery products are the main source of salt intake, followed by meat products, cheese and dairy products5. Table sugar, dairy products, soft drinks and sweet and bakery products are the main source of sugar intake6. The SFA intake is dominated by cheese, especially in the Netherlands, and by meat products and sweet and bakery products7. A positive example for reformulation is the UK, where salt intake was reduced from 9.5g/d in 2000/2001 to 8.1g/d in 20118 , concluding that the product categories of bakery and meat products are important targets for reformulation.

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