There have been two important nutrition-related announcements this week.
The first is Retail NZ’s Pledge on Reducing Childhood Obesity, signed up to by New Zealand supermarkets.
Foodstuffs, Progressive Enterprises, Moore Wilson’s and Bin Inn have pledged to support product reformulation, education campaigns, more healthy choices, adopting Health Star Ratings on home brands and, critically, responsible food advertising to children.
So what does this mean in real terms for consumers?
The main change is you will see sugar, salt and fat reduced in some home-brand products and star ratings added.
Also, Countdown has committed to selling more fruit and vegetables next year and will have at least one confectionary-free checkout in 95 per cent of its stores by the end of 2016.
The Australian-owned supermarket chain will add nutrition information to its online shopping site and keep offering free fruit for kids in store.
Kiwi-owned Foodstuffs will continue to provide nutrition and exercise education for year 5 and 6 students through the Food for Thought programme.
The supermarket brands’ position on obesity is still that it comes down to personal responsibility, but it’s good to see some efforts to help things along.
I suggest they could go further by making sure their sugary drinks are never cheaper than water and, perhaps, refusing to sell them to kids in school uniform.
The second bit of news is that the Heart Foundation is phasing out its Tick programme.
The programme, which served to help consumers identify which foods are lower in saturated and trans fats and sodium, has ended after more than 25 years.
The Tick programme also saw food manufacturers reformulating products to remove 156 tonnes of saturated fat and 15.4 tonnes of trans-fat in 2014 and 33 tonnes of salt in 1998-1999.
In a media release the Heart Foundation’s Tick Team says the move is due to the changing nutrition landscape in New Zealand.
While the Tick is moving off shelves, the Heart Foundation will continue to provide nutrition and health advice.