In January this year the United Nations released the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) report stating that the world was facing a global epidemic in childhood obesity with the number of overweight children under the age of five predicted to jump to as high as 70 million over the next decade.
New Zealand grocer Foodstuffs Ltd’s, Managing Director, Steve Anderson says, “As the largest food retailer in New Zealand, we have a role to play in helping support the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan and create healthier communities that will thrive in the long-term.”
As part of its support for the Government’s Plan the key areas Foodstuffs has pledged to focus on are:
- Promoting the consumption of healthy foods by reformulating private label products to improve their nutritional profile and enable healthier eating.
- Providing education on diet, nutrition and physical activity through the Food for Thought Charitable Trust.
- Completing the roll out of Health Star Ratings across our private label portfolio in support of the Government’s message that consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt should be limited.
- Ensuring all marketing activities comply with the relevant ASA Codes including an updated Code of Advertising to Children.
“We believe that long-term change can be achieved if consumers are supported through a wide range of initiatives that help people make more informed choices, including greater access to healthier alternatives through reformulation,” says Anderson. “We have committed to reformulate our private label products so that by the end of 2018 the sugar and sodium content will be reduced by 10% and saturated fat content continues to be reduced across the range.”
Anderson adds that the levels of these nutrients in new private label products will be given careful consideration, and Foodstuffs will champion the reformulation cause with its suppliers. “We have created a new Supplier Award designed specifically to recognize suppliers’ commitment to change in this area.”
“By pledging to reduce Childhood Obesity and collaborating with Government we hope to begin to see a reduction in the number of children who are overweight and obese,” says Anderson. “Our Food for Thought program which is a free nutrition education course sponsored by Pams, helps Year 5 and 6 primary school students (9–10 year olds) make healthy food and lifestyle choices.”
“This community based initiative has been designed and developed by nutritionists and teachers working within the New Zealand Health and Physical Education curriculum, and has reached more than 110,000 children since it began in 2007.”
Foodstuffs has been an active supporter of the Health Star Rating (HSR) scheme and since its launch in 2014 has been actively rolling out the labelling scheme across its private label portfolio.
“To date we have 40% of the brand’s 1500 products carrying HSR and we are now committed to completing the rollout to the entire portfolio by the end of 2018” says Anderson. “As a company we are very supportive of the HSR as we believe it provides consumers with a clear guide on how to assess the healthiness of a product compared with other products across a category.”