A major new report aimed at supporting the Welsh food industry develop and sell healthier products has been launched.
At the inaugural Food for the Future conference held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno (Thursday, 25 February), the ‘Food for the Future’ report highlighted that intakes of fat, sugar and salt in Wales currently exceed recommended amounts. As a result immediate action is required to address these issues and reduce the risks associated with foodrelated health complications among consumers.
Giving valuable insight into current consumer perceptions, the report looked at issues as diverse as the regulation of marketing, furthering nutritional education and the likely effectiveness of implementing a “sugar tax”, and explored how these may impact positively on choices made by the end consumer. It concluded that as there was a cumulative responsibility shared between the consumer, food and drink sector, Welsh Government and wider society, there may ultimately be a need to consider the development of a Food and Nutrition Strategy Wales in order to address some of these issues more comprehensively.
Among some of the report’s 14 key recommendations were:
• Research the possibility of establishing a world leading healthier product reformulation capability in Wales
• Explore the potential to strengthen the links between cutting-edge research (e.g. nutrition, biochemistry and food technology) and industry to enable Welsh businesses to commercialise and be first to market with innovative healthier products
• Provide an easily accessible and affordable support framework for companies who are reformulating products to make them healthier
Commenting on the report’s publication, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans AM said: “Through the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, the Welsh Government has already shown its commitment to creating a healthier and more prosperous Wales.
“I am pleased that the report has a wide ranging vision of trying to nurture a strong and innovative Welsh food sector that can provide sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy food of the highest standard, with positive economic and social benefits, along with the lowest environmental impacts.”
Produced by the research team at the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University, on behalf of the Welsh Government’s Food Division and Public Health Division, the report analysed existing policy and strategy while looking at what role the Welsh food industry can play in the reformulation of healthier food products. It is envisaged the report will help support Welsh businesses work innovatively towards improving the nation’s health, while at the same time driving growth, competitiveness and profitability within the food and drink sector.
Director of the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, David Lloyd said: “We hope the report will help consumers, industry and government divisions work together towards creating healthier food choices for the Welsh public. Not only are the findings of this report essential in helping us tackle the scourge of food related health issues, but it will also help support the food and drink industry develop, sell and market healthier products in Wales and throughout the world.”