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Seven coffee and sandwich shop chains join FSA healthy meal drive

06 March 2009 by

Seven of the UK's largest coffee and sandwich shop chains have become the latest catering operators to sign up to the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) drive to providing healthier meals outside the home.

Starbucks, Caffè Nero, Costa Coffee,Eat, Greggs, Pret A Manger and BB's Coffee and Muffins today announced their commitments to make changes to the food and drinks they serve.

The companies have identified specific projects which take into account procurement, menu planning, kitchen practices and consumer information. They will give the Agency a six-month progress update.

Examples include:

  • Setting targets for the amount of salt and saturated fat that their products will contain and working towards meeting them for all products
  • Using low salt stock for all soups
  • Offering a range of four pieces of fresh fruit, salads and healthier snacks
  • Offering smaller portions for exactly half the price of the standard size
  • Reviewing the nutritional content of all sandwiches and where possible re-launching replacements which are lower in salt and saturated fat
  • Gradually reducing the amount of sugar in sweet products

Tim Smith, FSA chief executive, said: "We now eat one in every six meals out of our homes. On average we are taking only 29 minutes for our lunch break at work, so that often means grabbing a snack or sandwich with a hot drink to eat at our desks, or to eat on the move, rather than sitting down for a meal.

"That is why we particularly welcome these commitments making it easier to choose healthier options when eating out, no matter where that is. We look forward to accelerating the pace, and seeing the impact, of these changes in our choice of these important foods."

The FSA is now working with more than 30 hospitality operators on healthy eating, including workplace caterers, fast food restaurants and pub chains. Similar commitments from a number of leading family restaurant chains are due to be announced in the spring.

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By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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