Danone will never launch HFSS products in UK, Ireland to honor its new health commitments

UK/IRELAND – French dairy behemoth has pledged to never launch a High in Fat, Salt, and Sugar (HFSS) product for children in the UK and Ireland as part of its new health commitments for its milk, plant, and water-based products.

The new commitments come a few days after German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has announced a draft law aimed at limiting the advertising of food deemed unhealthy (see EFA News entitled Germany censors junk food ads) and after the Windsor Framework.

The company points out that these pledges are “the new minimum threshold that Danone UK’s consumer brands will be held to Ireland, including Alpro, Activia, Light & Free, Actimel, Oykos, Volvic, and Evian.”

The dairy giant has also pledged that 90% of its product portfolio based on sales volume “will not be high in sugar, salt or fat, as defined in current UK Government policy and legislation of the British Government on HFSS.”

The improvements build on Danone’s plan to strengthen its position as a “purpose-led, health-focused major food and drink company.”

“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,” said James Mayer, president of Danone UK & Ireland. “We know families want the healthy choice to be the straightforward choice and we are committed to supporting them.”

In addition, adds the company in an official statement, “at least 90% of the product portfolio will be classified as healthy receiving a score of at least 3.5 stars out of 5 – within the Health Star rating index”.

The international index evaluates the overall nutritional profile of packaged foods, provides a quick, easy indication of packaged foods, and provides a quick, easy, and standard way to compare foods.

Danone UK & Ireland also intend to implement clear and consistent nutrition labeling on the front of the pack, in line with future UK and Irish legislation.

The company said it will publish nutrition facts from its portfolio on its website using the UK government’s HSR and HFSS guidelines as benchmarks and product nutrition information.

Danone hopes its pledges will encourage other companies to raise food and drink health standards in the UK and Ireland.

Research commissioned by Danone revealed 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.

Consumers were most conscious of a product’s sugar and fat content when making purchasing decisions, these nutritional elements being a concern for 50% and 49% of UK shoppers, respectively.

Consumers are more health-conscious today than they ever have been, noted Mayer, adding that “as an industry, we must continue to help consumers to make healthy choices by offering products that are both tasty and nutritious.”

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