Date Published: 6 March 2009

Coffee shop and sandwich chains serve up healthier eating commitments

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

Seven of the UK's largest coffee and sandwich shop chains have joined the growing number of companies working with Agency to make healthier eating commitments.

BB's Coffee and Muffins, Caffè Nero, Costa, EAT, Greggs, Pret A Manger and Starbucks Coffee Company UK have today announced their commitments to make changes to the food and drinks they serve, which will give their 11 million customers a week more opportunity to choose healthier options.

Although the commitments are different for each company, they share the aim of helping their customers enjoy a healthier, more balanced diet.

The companies identify specific projects which take into account procurement, menu planning, kitchen practice and consumer information. The companies will give the Agency a six month progress update.

Examples include:

* setting targets for the amount of salt and saturated fat that their products will contain - and working towards meeting them for all products
* using low salt stock for all soups
* offering a range of four pieces of fresh fruit, salads and healthier snacks
* offering smaller portions for exactly half the price of the standard size
* reviewing the nutritional content of all sandwiches and where possible relaunching replacements which are lower in salt and saturated fat
* gradually reducing the amount of sugar in sweet products

Tim Smith, Chief Executive at the Agency, said:

"We now eat one in every six meals out of our homes. On average we are taking only 29 minutes for our lunch break at work, so that often means grabbing a snack or sandwich with a hot drink to eat at our desks, or to eat on the move, rather than sitting down for a meal.

That is why we particularly welcome these commitments making it easier to choose healthier options when eating out, no matter where that is. We are very pleased to see the progress these companies have made over the last few years. We look forward to accelerating the pace, and seeing the impact, of these changes in our choice of these important foods."

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

"Tastes are changing and people want to eat more healthily. These commitments will help people make healthier choices and will go some way towards our aim to make healthy food the norm.

I'd like to see businesses go further and make nutritional information available on their menus to further help people make informed choices about what they eat."

The Agency is now working with more than 30 of the biggest companies in the catering sector including workplace caterers, quick service restaurants and pub chains. Between them these companies have the potential to positively influence more than 50 milliion customers they serve each week. The next stage of this activity will be publishing similar commitments from some of the country's largest family restaurant chains, which are due to be announced in the spring.


Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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