We reported previously on a move by Tesco to ban sweets, chocolate and crisps from the checkout aisles - a strategy taken to help stop parents from being pestered by their children during food shops to buy unhealthy snacks.
In the same vein the Department of Health has now announced more than 390 food businesses have published reports on their actions to meet the Public Health Responsibility Deal.
The voluntary scheme is becoming very successful
The voluntary deal, set up to reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar, alcohol and calories in foods was launched in March 2011 has since then gathered 670 industry partners. Key statistics from the reports included Tesco's claim that it has removed one billion calories from it's own label juices. Philip Clarke, Tesco's chief executive also said ''we've removed billions of calories from our soft drinks, sandwiches and ready meal ranges by changing the recipes to reduce their sugar, salt and fat content. And we will continue to look for opportunities to take out more."
Billions of calories are being removed from the food and drinks market
Britvic, manufacturer of popular 'Fruit Shoots' announced that it would stop selling the full sugar version of the drink, thereby removing 2.2 billion calories from the children's drinks market.
Mondelez International (Oreos, Philadelphia, BelVita and many more) stated that it would remove it's single serve confectionery containing more than 250 calories from the UK market by the end of next year, mirroring a similar move by Mars in 2012.
The initiative doesn't mean that some of our most loved products are being removed from the shelves but instead the ingredients they are made from are being assessed and being changed responsibly. People may not notice any difference in taste and many people do not look at the calories on their food packets - these are the ones who will benefit most as they will now unknowingly be consuming a healthier product.
The UK Department of Health has praised the efforts of the UK food business in their work to reduce the amount of calories, salt, sugars and fats in their products.
The alcohol industry is also stepping up to their responsibilities
Another area where real progress is being made is the alcohol industry - it plans to remove one billion units of alcohol from the market by 2015. Huge companies including Diageo and Carlsburg are at the forefront of these developments, having reduced units in current products or launched new 'low alcohol' or 'alcohol free' products with fewer or no alchohol units.
Jane Ellison, UK public health minister, stated: "These returns show that by working in partnership with industry, we are making real progress towards getting the nation into healthy habits for life.
"We cannot credibly tackle the major public health changes that our country faces without engaging with the companies that play such as big part in people's lives and it is vital that momentum is maintained."
"Whilst it is very encouraging to see so many companies getting behind the Responsibility Deal, we know there remains more to be done."