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Tackling Obesity in Canada: Experts Meet, Industry Updates on Progress

Food and Beverage Manufacturers Support the Canadian Obesity Network’s 2nd National Summit

Montreal, April 28 – Tackling obesity and helping curb its rise has been at the forefront of health, government, and industry agendas for some time. And as health experts and NGOs gather in Montreal for the Canadian Obesity Network’s 2nd Annual Summit, Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers are drawing attention to the progress that has been made reformulating the food supply and programs promoting healthy active living. According to a recently issued report, Our Commitment to Health and Wellness, the results are promising and underpin industry’s ongoing dedication to combating obesity building on its commitment first announced in 2005.”A fundamental challenge with obesity is its complexity. As it relates to one input, food and beverages, the focus has been on product formulation and adopting responsible marketing and advertising practices consistent with recommendations from world health authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO) among them,” says Phyllis Tanaka, MSc. RD, Vice President Scientific & Regulatory Affairs – Food Policy, Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), the industry association representing food and beverage manufacturers in Canada.

Through FCPC, Canada’s leading food and beverage companies have invested behind several far-reaching initiatives aimed at providing Canadians healthier for you options and the promotion of healthy active living. Anchored in its Statement of Commitment to Healthy Active Living, industry’s efforts have resulted in:

• an increase in healthier-for-you product choices
• enhanced consumer education supporting informed food choices
• responsible advertising and marketing practices
• increased focus and support for workplace and community wellness initiatives.

Building on its inaugural 2006 report Committed to Healthy Active Living, Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers have now released a follow-up, Our Commitment to Health and Wellness, which underscores the inroads which continue to be made. The 2011 report, based on a survey of Canada’s leading food and beverage companies, found that in the past five years, 92 per cent of the companies have reformulated their products to make them healthier or introduced healthier-for-you products and 85 per cent are actively promoting nutrition and healthy living in an effort to help Canadians make informed eating choices and be active.

Product reformulation has centered on reducing or eliminating trans and saturated fats, followed by reducing sodium; 65 per cent of respondents reduced sodium in existing products and 35 per cent introduced new products with reduced sodium. Companies also reduced calorie levels, reduced sugar and carbohydrates, added whole grains and fibre and adjusted serving sizes for better portion control. These improvements were made to existing and new products in a variety of food and beverage categories, from fruit and vegetable juices and sauces to frozen entrees, soups, dairy products and cookies, biscuits and snacks. In some cases these improvements were made to 100 per cent of the company’s product portfolio.

According to Tanaka, “We welcome this week’s forum and similar events which bring together subject-matter experts, create a means for all stakeholders to be heard and are the basis for collaboration. All the delegates know how multi-faceted the issue is, with that in mind, we are hopeful there is equal focus on all critical areas physical activity, education, the food supply, and broader social changes.”

“Industry has much to contribute in finding meaningful solutions, through innovation, insights on consumer behavior, and technical and research capabilities. Our sector welcomes the opportunity to be involved throughout the public consultative process so that we can contribute collaboratively to solutions,” she adds.

About Food & Consumer Products of Canada

FCPC is the voice of Canada’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies that manufacture or distribute the products that sustain Canadians and enhance their quality of life.

Founded in 1959, FCPC is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products that people enjoy and rely on every day.

The association promotes sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity and growth, and helps to protect the safety and security of the consumer product supply through a commitment to scientific excellence.

FCPC and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers, conducting business in an ethical and responsible way, and to working collaboratively with governments and other stakeholders to develop effective solutions on public policy issues.

The food and beverage industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Canada, employing close to 300,000 people and represents almost $19 billion in GDP. FCPC members operate 6,000 facilities across the country. Visit us at

For further information:

Tim Shaw
Amplifi PR
[email protected]