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  • Hugo Walker

Kerry launches online tool to help food manufacturers meet growing nutritional regulations

"A world of sustainable nutrition"

Around the world, governments and health organisations are introducing new nutrition regulations to promote better public health and prevent excessive consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (also known as HFSS foods). In the UK, a number of new regulations have come into place amid the existing sugar taxes and traffic-light system: restaurants are required to display calories on their menus as of this April, while supermarkets have faced restrictions in promoting HFSS foods in the somewhat controversial Food (Promotional and Placement) Regulations that came into force this October.

The need for this regulation is clear: sound public nutrition is complicated through unclear labelling, a high market concentration of cheap and accessible HFSS products, and a lack of understanding of how different foods affect our bodies. But these laws also pose real difficulties for food manufacturers who are obliged to meet a range of growing and often complex sets of regulations, particularly multinational firms which operate in multiple countries with disparate requirements.

Against the backdrop of an increasingly regulatory environment in the food and beverage industry, Kerry, the global health and nutrition organisation, has developed an online tool to assist food manufacturers in improving the nutritional contents of their products. By meeting standards and achieving ‘green’ on traffic-light systems, companies can avoid sugar taxes and promotional restrictions.

Albert McQuiad, the global chief science and technology officer at Kerry, discussed the impacts of nutritional regulations on food manufacturers: “In the past five years we have witnessed the most significant increase in nutrition restrictions and tax implementations to tackle obesity in history. Today over 40 countries worldwide use a front of pack nutrition label and this can be challenging for companies who have products that are sold in multiple markets.”

The KerryNutri Guide transforms a product's nutritional profile into a numeric score that can be easily compared across over 10 global nutrient regulatory thresholds. The tool also gives advice and guidance on how and in what areas that score can be improved, and the different scores the product achieves in different countries. By collating regulatory information such as sugar taxes and HFSS thresholds across different countries, food manufacturers can save on time and research when developing their products to fit a range of regulatory requirements.

“KerryNutri Guide measures products against the various front of pack requirements while also demonstrating how improving the nutritional profile can improve their score,” continued Mr McQuaid. “It can be incredibly challenging for companies who sell products into multiple countries to understand exactly how these labelling systems will appear on their product. Using KerryNutri Guide, we can innovate with customers to create products that meet challenges such as sugar taxes, sodium reduction targets, and comprehensive nutritional profile models.

We have a broad range of technologies that can support reformulation as well as leading insights to support manufacturers in a challenging environment. We need to work together to create a world of sustainable nutrition that is better for people and the planet - KerryNutri Guide is one way that we can support customers in our joint goals.”

KerryNutri Guide is one example of how innovations in tech and information collation can optimise product development - and, ultimately, public health. Necessary nutrition requirements that promote healthy diets and lives need not be at odds with food manufacturers’ interests when the appropriate technologies and systems are in place.

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