Food Reformulation

Over four years (2021-2025), the Department of Health aims to reduce calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt in the Irish diet. Food companies are being asked to use less of these target nutrients in many everyday foods. The voluntary goals finalised in December 2021 are intended to help people improve their diet and their overall health.

 NUTRIENT  TARGET
Salt 10% reduction focused on the 76 food groups that contribute most to people’s salt intakes
Sugar A 20% reduction is proposed in the sugar content of nine food categories* that are currently the focus of the Public Health England sugar reduction programme
Saturated Fat A 10% reduction in the saturated fat content of processed foods that contribute most to saturated fat intakes in Ireland is proposed.
Energy (Calories) A 20% reduction in calories is proposed, focused on product categories that contribute significantly to children’s calorie intakes.
Products targeted explicitly at babies and young children: The FSAI will develop targets for this category based on its previous work in this area (2012 and 2018).
*Food categories: biscuits, breakfast cereals, chocolate confectionary, ice cream, lollies and sorbets, puddings, sweet spreads and sauces, sweet confectionary, yogurts and fromage frais, cakes, morning goods.
**now referred to as Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID)

A Roadmap for Food Product Reformulation in Ireland

The Reformulation Roadmap is a core element of Ireland’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan setting targets for the reduction of the levels of calories, saturated fats, sugar, and salt in commonly eaten processed foods. It was developed by the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG), who are charged with delivering the Government’s commitment to combat obesity. Reformulating food and drinks, to reduce their salt, sugar and saturated fat content, results in healthier food options for consumers.  Health considerations are the single most important driver of this need for change to the Irish food supply.

What is Food Reformulation?

When referred to in the context of the Food Product Reformulation Roadmap for Ireland (2021-2025), food reformulation means improving the nutritional content of commonly consumed processed foods and drinks by reducing calories and target nutrients (such as saturated fat, salt and sugar). The goal of reformulation is to reduce target nutrients without increasing the energy content or nutrients of concern to ensure healthier food choices are available to Irish consumers.

What is the Food Reformulation Task Force?

The Food Reformulation Task Force is a strategic partnership between The Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Healthy Ireland at the Department of Health. The purpose of the Task Force is to implement the Roadmap for Food Product Reformulation in Ireland. It will help drive progress towards the targets to reduce calories, saturated fat, salt and sugar in everyday processed foods and drinks by working with industry and stakeholders. Food companies who manufacture foods that make the biggest contribution to the intake of target nutrients in the Irish population will be identified and food brands which are purchased in the largest volume will also be pinpointed. These companies will have the greatest impact on the success of reformulation in Ireland. Progress towards meeting the targets will be tracked from a baseline in 2015 and published in Task Force annual reports. To provide transparency on the process and evidence which informed the approach of identifying prioritised foods to which reformulation targets will apply, the FSAI hosted a Food Reformulation Webinar on 1st June 2022.

See webinar: Food Reformulation in Ireland – Defining Food Categories and Setting the Baseline 
See summary of the Food Reformulation Task Force

Publications

Useful resources

Teagasc

Teagasc Food Research Centres in Ashtown, Dublin and Moorepark, Fermoy encompass a unique range of infrastructural capabilities, scientific knowledge and know-how to support companies of all sizes and stages of growth in meeting their product reformulation goals to produce healthier and more sustainable foods. 

The National Prepared Consumer Food Centre, based at Teagasc Ashtown, is a state-of-the-art facility with cutting edge equipment that can provide food businesses with the expertise and technical resources that they need to reformulate products effectively.  The Centre houses pilot scale processing and packaging equipment, which companies can use for research and development in collaboration with Teagasc and other innovation support organisations. Companies may also access modern analytical and sensory laboratories to characterise reformulated foods in terms of nutritional, compositional, microbial and sensory profiles.

To hear more about how they can support you, there are a series of videos available here:

https://www.teagasc.ie/food/research-and-innovation/research-areas/food-industry-development/food-gateways/food-formulation-for-the-future-/

Contact Details for Teagasc:

  • Shay Hannon, Manager, Prepared Consumer Foods Centre
    Email: shay.hannon@teagasc.ie 
    Telephone: +353 (1) 805 9990 / +353 (87) 672 3696
  • Ciara McDonagh, Head of Food Industry Development
    Email: ciara.mcdonagh@teagasc.ie 
    Telephone: +353 (1) 8059546 / +353 (87) 1145120

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the state agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.

The application of research and innovation to business challenges is critical to the success of the Irish economy. We provide supports for both companies and researchers in Higher Education Institutes to develop new technologies and processes that will lead to job creation and increased exports. We can help companies of all sizes to engage in innovation and research activities. From €5,000 Innovation Vouchers open to all, through collaborative research, right through to industry-led R&D at the top of the innovation ladder, we are here to help.

These supports may be suitable to assist Food companies in the reformulation of their products. For projects to be considered eligible for funding they must demonstrate suitable levels of innovation and technical challenges.

Further details on the range of supports are available on the Enterprise Ireland website at:

Key contact/more information

For further information please contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser or email/call us at: rdcoreunit@enterprise-ireland.com or +353 1 727 2120

If you are not a client, please contact your nearest Enterprise Ireland regional office

The Food & Drink Federation (FDF), Scotland

Publications 

Webinars 

Case Studies 

Bord Bia

Bord Bia’s vision is for customers around the globe to recognise that Irish food and drink is world-class; that it is high quality, distinctive, and made by a diverse range of creative producers from a unique and fortuitous island location. Bord Bia’s purpose is to bring Ireland’s outstanding food, drink and horticulture to the world, thus enabling growth and sustainability of producers. Headquartered in Dublin, Bord Bia supports the national and international ambitions of Irish food, drink and horticulture businesses through its highly focused organisational structure and its network of offices in EMEA, Asia and the USA. Bord Bia acts as a link between Irish food, drink and horticulture suppliers and existing and potential customers throughout the world. Bord Bia offer a library service for clients and queries can be sent to thethinkinghouse@bordbia.ie

Conferences

 
 Food Reformulation Research Paper Library

 

Last reviewed: 1/12/2022

Approved Food Establishments 

Approved

Food Labelling

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Legislation