Scottish businesses reformulate for health

Bakers, butchers and other small- and medium-sized food producers across Scotland, UK have been lowering the salt, fat and calories in products, in some cases by over 50%, as part of an industry and Scottish government partnership.

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.

Now, other producers can take inspiration from their peers on how to reformulate their recipes for health thanks to a new guide published this month. Reformulation for Health: Guidance for SMEs 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.

Some success stories captured in Reformulation for Health include:

  • 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%
  • Moray-based Maclean’s Highland Bakery has reduced the salt content of its buttery range by 25%.

Dr Colette Backwell, director of the SFDF, says, “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.”

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