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Suppliers aim to help Canadians eat healthier

Personal commitments to a healthier lifestyle require an equalcommitment from our food suppliers. In Canada, the food and beverageindustry appears to be doing just that.

Personal commitments to a healthier lifestyle require an equal commitment from our food suppliers. In Canada, the food and beverage industry appears to be doing just that.

Guided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the key commitments towards “healthy active living” are now reflected in the products we buy – and in the information supplied.

Late last year the food and beverage industry conducted a survey of its members in partnership with Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), the largest association representing Canadian–operated food, beverage and consumer product companies. Results demonstrate that manufacturers are investing significantly in research and new product development to enhance the nutrition profile of foods, such as reduction in sodium, calories and trans fats. In addition, manufacturers are giving healthier choices to the
public; communicating the value of good nutrition; and are increasingly supporting initiatives in the home and workplace aimed at healthy living. Take a look at some of the most interesting facts and figures from the
survey:

Ninety-two per cent of respondents say they are increasing their range of healthier foods, many of which now contain more vitamins, minerals, whole grains and fibre with reduced levels of calories, sugar, fat, salt, preservatives and artificial flavouring. Healthier products make up more than 50 per cent and sometimes 100 per cent of the company's total product mix.

Eighty-eight per cent are working to provide new products containing a specific nutritional benefit, including lowering the sodium in products like pizza, soups, cookies, crackers, pasta sauce, cereal, juices, and more. The goal is to achieve a population average intake of 2,300 mg of sodium per day by 2016.

Seventy-three per cent say they have strategies in place to help consumers manage their caloric intake, such as changing the package size. Many (48 per cent) have already produced these products and another 20 per cent plan to do it in the next two or three years.

Seventy-five per cent provide customers with the complete nutrition profile on their product labels covering 13 core nutrients.

Eighty per cent are communicating healthy eating and healthy lifestyle messaging to help consumers make sound choices. A vast majority of respondents say they provide their own workplace wellness programs to help employees improve their health.

Eighty-five per cent promote nutrition and health in many different ways. Manufacturers recognize that Canadians are interested in what is in their food and how it affects their overall weight, and are offering a wide range of community and employee programs to address those needs.

Fifty per cent and more are partnering with governments and not–for–profit organizations to specifically promote healthy eating and/or healthy lifestyles.

More information about the survey is available online at www.fcpc.ca.

 
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