Seabrook Lunchbox sized bags

With health the number one consideration for consumers according to Kantar, brands have had to shape up. The good news is that although there’s still a long way to go, they’re starting to do just that.

After the government launched a hybrid food labelling scheme last month, in which calories, fat, sugars and salt will be shown on packs with traffic lights and Reference Intakes replacing GDAs, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Premier Foods all signed up to the voluntary plan.

“Over the next 18 to 24 months, new labelling will be phased in across the company’s portfolio of brands including Batchelors, Hovis and Mr Kipling,” says Premier Foods’ Jon Burton, brand director at Batchelors, which removed trans fats from all its products in 2011 and 540 tonnes of salt in 2012. Premier has also pledged to reduce calories in one third of its portfolio by 2014 and ensure at least 30% of NPD each year gives lower-calorie options.

Seabrook crisps is also lowering calories with the launch of Lunchbox multipacks of 28 18g bags in Morrisons next month. The crisps, which come in prawn cocktail, sea salted, cheese & onion and ready salted flavours, contain less than 98 calories a bag.

Cheese snacks are getting healthier, too. Last year, Mondelez reformulated its Dairylea spread, which has slipped 3% in value [IRI 52 w/e 27 April 2013]. It is now based on a recipe containing all natural ingredients. “Health and nutritional value of products are important drivers in the market,” says Susan Nash, trade communication manager at Mondelez.

Even ambient meal brands are trying to tap into demand for healthier options. Princes enlisted an independent nutritional expert to help develop tuna salads aimed specifically at the lunchtime market last year. “They hit the mark with the health-conscious shopper as they are high in protein and low in satfat,” says marketing director Neil Brownbill.