Sir; During the period in which the government has been formulating its obesity policy, we have made clear our intention to work with it and other groups to reduce obesity problems. We remain committed to working with them on any sound, evidence-based approach.
However, we are concerned at the implicit assumption in the government’s White Paper on Health (DOH: You act - or we will, The Grocer, November 20, p4, 5) that our products cannot contribute positively to a balanced diet. Over-simplistic labelling schemes, such as red ‘stop’ signs, do nothing to communicate that the amount of food you eat affects your weight, rather than whether you have eaten a single chocolate bar or cake. While levels of obesity have soared, the amount of chocolate and sweets we eat in Britain has actually fallen by about 9% in the past five years.
Companies are currently working on improved labelling, including guideline daily amounts. This will give consumers a clear idea of the contribution of our foods to their diet and support informed choice, based on their individual lifestyles.
For products sold in small portions, such as ours, customer care lines and websites are also an important source of detailed information.
If we are to encourage balanced diets, it is important that we eat a broad range of foods, including those we enjoy.