United Biscuits is slashing the saturated fat content of its Hula Hoops and Skips brands in its biggest ever health initiative, in response to growing attention to the snacking category’s contribution to rising obesity levels.
From February, the children’s crisps brands will contain 50% less saturated fat by using a blend of sunflower oil. The sodium content of Hula Hoops will also be cut by 10%.
The company is spending £5m on the change, including packaging carrying a ‘healthiest ever’ message on both
front and back. A £2m TV ad campaign breaking in the spring will support the brands.
James Mayer, UBUK grocery trading director,
said: “People want to continue to eat their favourite brands, but they need to be healthier. We are investing a great deal in making them so.”
The company will also extend its nuts offering next year. Three premium nut selections are being launched in sharing and single packs all flagging up a ‘high in fibre’ message.
United Biscuits launched a reduced sodium version of Hula Hoops Shake2Salt in June, as well as light versions of its McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives, Rich Tea and HobNobs brands.
Reductions in sodium across Mini Cheddars, Chocolate Digestives, Rich Tea and HobNobs are planned later in 2006, bringing a total sodium reduction of 33% for the brands since 2004.
From next year, all United Biscuits products will carry an on-pack statement declaring that the lines are free from hydrogenated fats.
The move is just part of the industry’s increased efforts to respond to consumer demands for healthier choices, and comes amid threats of traffic light food labelling and a ban on advertising certain products to children.
Pepsi Max Cino, a new sugar-free cola with a shot of cappuccino flavour, out in January, will be backed by a £3m TV and poster ad and UK sampling campaign at branded café bars outside supermarkets and football grounds. It’s the latest extension to the brand distributed by Britvic Soft Drinks, which said low sugar and flavoured cola was driving growth across the category.
Stefan Chomka