Reducing calories in our indulgent categories
M&S has had a dedicated health strategy in place for over ten years focused on supporting our customers to make healthier product and dietary choices. We are continuing to deliver the strategy through innovative healthy food ranges (e.g. Balanced for You, Eat Well and Vegetarian) as well as clear product labelling, reformulation and targeted customer communications.
As part of this work and in response to the Childhood Obesity Plan launched by the Government in 2016, we committed to reduce calories in the indulgent categories that contribute most to calorie, sugar and saturated fat intake in our diets.
Too many calories in our diets, no matter their source, leads to weight gain and increased risk of type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We’re tackling this through reformulating recipes, developing healthier, lower calorie options and reviewing pack sizes.
Since launching this plan last year as part of our Plan A 2025 commitments we have made good progress. Across the 10 indulgent categories identified by Public Health England, we have reduced the total calories across these categories by 4%. If you multiply that by the number of products we sell every year in these categories, that’s 110 million fewer calories.
But it’s not only calories we’ve taken action on. In the same categories we’ve reduced saturated fat by 7% and sugar by 5%. At the same time we’ve managed to maintaining great quality and flavour. We have also reduced the sugar in our soft drinks and cordials by 50%.
For some categories, such as chocolate, cereals and yogurts, we have increased the number of products in the range, including new individually portioned varieties under 250 calories, and therefore the total number of calories for these categories has gone up. Nevertheless, work is underway to review pack sizes and recipes to identify where it is possible to deliver a calorie reduction across the range.
We’re only a year into the plan and we continue to find new ways to reduce calories and help our customers manage their diets.