Cadbury has pledged to stop producing cholocate bars in the UK which contain more than 250 calories in response to the Department of Health's recent anti-obesity drive.
The company, which is owned by the US confectionary giant Mondelez International, says it will be phasing out its 'bar and a half products', as well as at least two other products. The moves come as part of a new voluntary scheme that asks companies to sign up to pledges to support healthy eating choices, which include reducing the amount of salt, fat, sugar, alcohol unit and calories in their products, as well as encouraging greater access to healthy lifestyles and exercise.
Many other food industry groups including Nestle and Unilever have now also signed up to the pledge, with drinks giant Britvic recently agreeing to only sell the low sugar version of its Fruit Shoot drink in the UK, removing an estimated 2.2 billion calories from the children's drink market. Some observers have however been critical of the voluntary nature of the scheme, suggesting that it in fact lets companies 'off the hook' by allowing them to make pledges requiring limited action, rather than implemeting tougher regulations across the food industry.
The government's recent anti-obesity measures come in the wake of a Global Burden of Disease study, published by Lancet in May, which ranked the UK as having the third highest obesity rate in Western Europe. Worryingly the report also identifies a growing worldwide trend toward obesity which now sees around 2.1 billion people, about one third of the worlds population, being classed as obese or overweight, putting them at greater risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Story first reported in The Guardian