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Action on Sugar

New Calorie Reduction Targets Announced


Today, as part of the Governments new Obesity Strategy, Public Health England have announced new targets for calorie reduction, in a bid to encourage the food industry to play their part in tackling the country's obesity crisis.

Todays announcement is welcome but well overdue, with the consultation having taken place 2 years ago. Following on from the consultation process some changes were made, notably to recognise the efforts already made by the retail sector, and bring the out of home sector in line with the rest of the industry. Key points from the calorie targets include:

  • 20% calorie reduction for meals in the out of home sector
  • 10% calorie reduction for childrens meals
  • 10% calorie reduction for retailers and manufacturers
  • 5% calorie reduction in sandwiches for both retail and out of home
  • 5% calorie reduction for crisps and savoury snacks for both retail and out of home

The calorie reduction targets are still only voluntary guidelines for the food industry, but Public Health England have committed to progress reports in 2022, 2024 and 2025.

A second progress report for salt reduction along with new salt targets for 2024 were also published alongside the calorie targets, as well as a stakeholder engagement report on sugar reductio and wider reformulation.  

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Action on Salt, says: "Reformulation targets are a vital part of the Government’s new obesity strategy, which includes restrictions on promotions and advertising high salt, fat and sugar food and drinks to children before 9pm. Less salty and calorific foods will make it easier for parents to make healthier choices for their families, and they will make it easier for manufacturers to be able to continue to promote their products.

We welcome the latest announcement from PHE on a renewed focus on food reformulation. But despite a lot of ‘ambition’ mentioned within the calorie reduction report, this hasn’t necessarily come through in the proposed targets. What is clear is that these targets have been created with the industry in mind, with many watered down or removed completely, and so we expect no less than 100% achievement by 2024. Rather than waiting until 2024, the quicker manufacturers release their improved products, the quicker we will all see the benefits on our health.

The new targets recognise how far the retail sector has come already compared to the eating out of the home sector. It is vital that restaurants, takeaways and home delivery companies are brought in line with the supermarkets, as they are still an important contributor of salt and excess calories. The out of home sector must play their part in providing us with healthier options if we are to have a healthy recovery from the pandemic.

Given previous experiences with voluntary guidelines, we call on the Government once again to set up an independent watchdog for the management of these programmes, with sanctions or levies if the food industry do not comply."


Visit the Public Health England website for more information:

Calorie reduction: guidelines for the food industry

Sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme: stakeholder engagement August 2019 to June 2020

Salt reduction: targets for 2024

Salt targets 2017: second progress report 



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