27 February 2023: Danone UK & Ireland launches new health commitments as part of its promise to consumers that it will prioritise healthy products in its portfolio.
Danone UK & Ireland has committed:
- That at least 90% of its portfolio of products by sales volume will not be high in sugar, salt or fat (HFSS), defined by the UK Government’s current policy and legislation relating to HFSS1 .
- That, additionally, at least 90% of its portfolio by sales volume will be rated as “healthy” – receiving a score of at least 3.5 stars out of 5 – within the Health Star Rating index
- To never produce a product for children which is high in sugar, salt or fat (HFSS), defined by the UK Government’s current policy and legislation relating to HFSS
Danone UK & Ireland, the market leader in branded yogurts, plant-based drinks and waters in the UK and Ireland, has made public its health commitments for those categories as it looks to further strengthen its position as a purpose led, health focussed major food and drink company.
The commitments mean that Danone UK & Ireland will never produce a product high in sugar, salt, or fat for children. They also mean that 90% of its portfolio will fall into the “healthy” categories, or those scoring at least 3.5 stars out of 5, of the Health Star Rating index. The international index assesses the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare foods.
The announcement comes at a time when UK consumers are increasingly health conscious. Research commissioned by Danone UK & Ireland reveals that 94% of UK consumers try to eat healthily and pay attention to the food they eat all, or at least some of the time.2 Consumers are also most conscious of the sugar and fat content of a product when making purchasing decisions, these nutritional elements being a concern for almost half (50% and 49% respectively) of all UK shoppers.3
“Health is at the heart of everything we do, and I am proud to announce that 90% of our products are now not high in sugar, salt, or fat. We know families want the healthy choice to be the easy choice and we are committed to supporting them” said James Mayer, President of Danone UK & Ireland. “Consumers are more health conscious today than they ever have been. As an industry, we must continue to help consumers to make healthy choices by offering products that are both tasty and nutritious. That is why, as a purpose-led company, we commit to maintain a strongly health-focused portfolio.”
Danone UK & Ireland hopes that its commitments will encourage others to further raise health standards in the UK and Ireland food and drinks sector. These ambitious commitments are the new minimum threshold Danone UK & Ireland’s consumer brands including Alpro, Activia, Light & Free, Actimel, Oykos, Volvic and Evian, will be held to.
As part of the commitments, Danone UK & Ireland has also confirmed its intention to implement clear, consistent front of pack nutritional labelling in line with future UK and Ireland legislation. In advance of that, it will transparently publish nutritional data for its portfolio, using the HSR system and UK Government HFSS guidelines as benchmarks - alongside product nutritional information - on its website. It will also confirm ongoing compliance with its own commitments.
As part of its ongoing commitment to health, the business is already working with several like-minded partners including retailers and NGOs to promote the importance of healthy, sustainable diets. It is now appealing for others to join it in helping the nation eat more healthily.
1 – Percentage calculated on one year of sales (Oct 2021-Sept-22). The number includes the recipes reformulated in September 2022, combined with sales for a year. This means that SKUs reformulated to be non HFSS within the period (Oct 2021-Sept 22) has been captured in the % non HFSS. The number assumes that post-reformulation sales remain at same levels and that mix for total portfolio also remains the same.
2 – Danone’s Consumer Nutrition Survey, ‘Consumer Attitudes to Healthy Nutrition, September 2022. N=1,054. Data conducted by Toluna consumer panel on behalf of Danone between 31 August and 5 September 2022, polling 1054 adults aged 18+ across the UK
3 – Danone’s Consumer Nutrition Survey, ‘Consumer Attitudes to Healthy Nutrition, September 2022. N=1,054. Data conducted by Toluna consumer panel on behalf of Danone between 31 August and 5 September 2022, polling 1054 adults aged 18+ across the UK
About the Health Star Rating Index
The Health Star Rating assesses the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice. The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. The threshold of “healthy” being set at 3.5 or above (≥3.5 HSR) is based on work commissioned by the New South Wales Ministry of Health in Australia, which concluded that “healthy core foods with a HSR of ≥3.5 can be confidently promoted in public settings as healthier choices.”
Reference: Dunford, E., Cobcroft, M., Thomas, M., Wu, J.H. (2015). Technical Report: Alignment of the NSW Healthy Food Provision Policy with the Health Star Rating System.
ATNI (Access to Nutrition) uses the government-recommended threshold of 3.5 stars or more to classify products as generally healthier.
Danone UK & Ireland is referring to HFSS as defined by the UK Government’s current (January 2023) policy and legislation. Foods that would fall within the HFSS category include high fat, salt, sugar versions of soft drinks, drinks with added sugars, cakes, confectionery including chocolates and sweets cereals, pastries, ice cream, pizza, chips and prepared meals.