The retailer kickstarted a comprehensive overhaul of its own-label offer last month, spearheaded by private brand director Belinda Youngs, who joined in January from Canadian retailer Sobeys.
It gathered thousands of own-label suppliers to a conference to explain its plans and commenced training for suppliers and its own staff. The first products to come out of the review are due on shelf in October.
The Grocer can reveal that healthy eating is set to be a key pillar of the relaunch. Morrisons nutritionists and its recently appointed executive chef Neil Nugent are currently carrying out a major reformulation programme. Nugent, who moved to Morrisons from Waitrose in February, said the retailer was doing a lot of work around healthier eating. One example was garlic bread. By October, the retailer would have cut 20 tonnes of butter from its own-label garlic bread, he said.
There was also a greater focus on health in the way it was promoting food in-store, he added. Recipe cards promoting summer desserts had been developed to promote desserts with a higher fruit content and less cream.
A Morrisons spokesman said that much of the work was being carried out as part of it commitments under the Responsibility Deal, but declined to give any further details of the wider own-label strategy ahead of the relaunch.
However, he said the retailer was on track to meet its commitment to cut salt levels in its products by a further 15% on 2010 levels by the end of 2012 and eliminate transfats. It was also introducing calorie information in all its cafés, he confirmed.
The new focus on health marks a significant shift in emphasis for the retailer. Although it currently has an Eat Smart lower-calorie and reduced fat, salt and sugar range, the consensus is that Morrisons has not been as focused on healthy eating as some of its rivals.
Last month, Morrisons made a third major appointment to work on the own-label project. It hired Arla Foods VP of marketing Danny Micklethwaite for the new role of head of development. He will report directly to Youngs.
Meanwhile, the government's Change4Life campaign kicked off a summer-long programme aimed at helping parents keep children active and eating healthy food.
The campaign is one of the first major pushes since the Responsibility Deal was announced in March, and aims to 'nudge' rather than force people into a healthier lifestyle. The Really Big Summer Adventure' campaign includes a voucher offering money-off healthy activities and food.