Campaigners, however, are annoyed that so few companies have signed up.
Almost half of the food manufacturing and retail industry has signed up to the ‘Responsibility Deal Saturated Fat Reduction Pledge’ by agreeing to reduce the amount of saturated fat in our food and change their products to make them healthier.
Nestlé has pledged to remove 3,800 tonnes of saturated fat from over 1bn Kit Kat bars per year by reformulating the recipe. Tesco is taking 32 tonnes out of its products, while Subway will reduce the amount of saturated fat in its Kids Pak by more than 70%, replacing cookies and crisps with a healthier option.
Unilever, meanwhile, will continue to invest in spreads and blends that provide healthier options and promote healthy eating by encouraging swaps in cooking and baking, and Mondelez International will reformulate products across its portfolio including BelVita, Oreo and Barny.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said: "It’s hugely encouraging that companies providing almost half of the food available on the UK market have committed to this new Responsibility Deal pledge and they are leading the way to give their customers healthier products and lower fat alternatives."
Children’s Food Campaign co-ordinator Malcolm Clark said that, although he was "pleasantly surprised" by the scope of the pledge, it was "disappointing" that so few brands had signed up.
"There seems to be no sense in the Government of naming and shaming those that do not sign up. There’s no stick for that 50% of companies," he said.
A Which? spokesperson said: "With six in ten of the population overweight or obese we hope that the new public health minister will ensure that the Responsibility Deal becomes more ambitious, encouraging change across the whole industry, and is prepared to legislate if voluntary action fails."
Pledge wording in full:
"Recognising the role of over-consumption of saturated fat in the risk of premature avoidable mortality from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, and public health recommendations to reduce saturated fat consumption (to less than 11% of food energy for everyone over 5yrs of age, compared to current levels of 12.7%).
"We will support and enable people to consume less saturated fat through actions such as product/menu reformulation, reviewing portion sizes, education and information and incentivising consumers to choose healthier options. We will monitor and report on our actions on an annual basis. Progress in reducing people’s saturated fat intakes will be measured via the National Diet and Nutrition Survey."