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Background

New convention for a balanced diet in Belgium

Published: 03/02/2016

In 2009, the Belgian Federation of Food Producers (FEVIA) and distributors of food products (COMEOS) in Belgium, together with the Belgian government, made a joint commitment to reduce the amount of salt intake by 10% before the end of 2012.

Monitoring reports from FEVIA in 2013 indicate a reduction of 16% to 36% in meat products, 22% in bread, 17% in powdered soup, 15% to 29% in ready meals and 7.5% to 20% in cheese.

Though the agreement expired in 2012, the Belgian food and drink industry continues to employ and improve upon the actions that were undertaken as a part of this agreement.

In June 2016, a new action plan on product formulation was launched in Belgium by the minister of public health in collaboration with the food industry and the retailers. The action plan focused on the reduction of energy intake and on the optimization of the nutritional composition of food products.

Results of the 2018 report show a positive trend

Results* for each product category:

  • Soft drinks: -7% sugars
  • Chocolate products: -1.2% saturated fat
  • Biscuits and cakes: -3.2% saturated fat
  • Dairy: -3.8% added sugars
  • Plant based products: -18% sugars
  • Breakfast cereals: -5.8% sugars; +13% fibres; +24.5% whole grain**

* Figures have been weighted according to the market share of branded products and private labels. More detailed information and reports are available on www.convenantevenwichtigevoeding.be or www.conventionalimentationequilibree.be.
** Figures only available for branded products.

For other sectors (margarines, ice cream, sugar, bakery products, potato products, meat products, snacks and nuts) that didn’t had a quantitative commitment, Fevia builded a website www.convenantevenwichtigevoeding.be or www.conventionalimentationequilibree.be with a database of examples of reformulated and new products launched between 2012 and 2017.

The sector also verified the impact of its efforts on the caloric intake among the Belgian population and used Euromonitor International’s Passport Nutrition (Edition 2017) to make an assessment. Results show that the average economic consumption of calories from packaged food and soft drinks (in retail alone) decreased between 2012-2016, which can be related to the efforts taken by the food sector.

A video of the press conference together with the Belgian Minister of Public Health can be found here (NL) and here (FR).

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