Reformulation of Food Products

06 October 2023
Why it matters for hospitality sector

Have you ever come across reformulated food products during your shopping? Product reformulation in food means changing the process or ingredients of foods and beverages to improve their nutritional value and make them healthier. The major steps are decreasing fat, salt and sugar content in the food as well as applying “free-from” formulas, where certain ingredients are removed from the recipe.

METRO Chef | Own Brand

Today’ s consumers demand more health – conscious products, while governments aim to decrease calories intake of individuals to promote healthy and balanced diets for public health reasons. Studies show that as a result of food reformulation, consumers’ daily consumption of unhealthy ingredients decline, and this leads to further benefits on sugar and blood pressure levels of consumers. As a result, the food authorities of many countries have either set obligatory reduction targets or encourage the food and beverage producers to decrease the salt, sugar and fat levels either by voluntary initiatives or by tax incentives.

The topic is also on the agenda of the European Commission. The Farm to Fork Strategy, which is a core element of the European Green Deal aims to make food systems fair, healthy, environmentally friendly and resilient to crisis. Launching of initiatives to stimulate reformulation of processed food, including the setting of maximum levels for certain nutrients is one of the key action points of this strategy. The Commission also prepared the EU Code of Conduct of Responsible Business and Marketing Practices, seeking voluntary commitments from food companies and organisations to take concrete actions on health and sustainability, focusing in particular on: reformulating food products in line with guidelines for healthy, sustainable diets. Besides, the Commission also aims to revise the Food Information to Consumers Legislation with an EU-wide harmonized Front-of-Pack Food labelling scheme that will give the consumers trustful information.

METRO is one of the first signatories of the EU Code of Conduct with commitments on reformulation of own brands products for healthy diets among three further commitments namely food waste reduction, sustainable sourcing and climate neutrality targets.

With the reformulation of own brand products METRO aims to offer to its customers healthier own-brand products globally (common sourced and sourced by country organisations) with less sugar, salt, and fats and/or completely or partially free from additives and/or organic certified and/or alternative protein-based by:

  • By the end of 2021 a total of 1,000 own brand products
  • By the end of 2022 a total of 1,250 own brand products
  • By the end of 2023 a total of 1,500 own brand products

In FY 2020/21 METRO has reformulated 603 products with “Less of sugar/salt/saturated fatty acids/free from additives”, added 430 organic products and 14 alternative protein products to its assortment, In FY 2021/22 the number of reformulated products rose to 787, organic products to 519 and alternative protein products to 39.

Food reformulation is a complex process and has its limits. The changes made to the composition should not affect the characteristics of food or endanger food safety. Yet the consumption of processed food, even if it is reformulated with less salt, sugar and fat, cannot exceed the health benefits given by fresh food products. Healthy diets require an occasional consumption of processed foods and rely more on home-prepared meals.

The hospitality sector plays an important role in promoting healthy diets of end-consumers. As one out of three meals per day is eaten outside of home in our urban daily lives the contribution of restaurateurs and caterers in offering better and more nutritious food is undeniable. You can check the following videos prepared with our leading Gastronomes in Germany, who help us develop own-brand products with a glimpse on why they choose to add METRO reformulated, organic and alternative protein own-brands to their kitchens.

Interview on METRO Chef plant-based milk alternatives with Gerhardus von Marm, Barista
Interview on METRO Chef Bio products with Christophe Roussel, Chef