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How we're making it easier for our customers to make healthier choices

Julie Dean, Head of Nutrition at Asda, talks about how we make it easier for our customers to make healthier choices

By Julie Dean

March 2, 2020 00:00am
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Nutrition and health have always been central to Asda’s values and our approach is to think about all the different foods our customers enjoy, not just single nutrients. We want to help people have a balanced diet with more fruit and vegetables and to make it easier for people to choose healthier options.

To help our customers make an informed choice when it comes to grocery shopping we are passionate about clear labelling and it was in 2007 that we began putting traffic light labelling on our Own Brand packaging to help customers understand the nutritional values of everything that they choose. Our online shopping enables our customers to filter products by their dietary needs, including ‘Free From’, low fat, sugar and salt or contain a higher source of fibre.

We have gone even further now by rolling out our new Live Better icon. The icon only goes on the healthiest products in Own Brand which our Nutrition team has approved and have to meet strict recognised nutritional criteria, in line with Ofcom Nutrient Profiling Model and the NHS Eatwell Guide so at a glance our customers can make a healthier choice.

We carefully develop our own brand products to ensure they don’t contain too much fat, sugar and salt, as well as looking at its beneficial components including fibre, fruit and vegetable content of products. In 2019 alone, we removed 11 billion calories, 1329 tonnes of fat, 771 tonnes of saturated fat, 878 tonnes of sugar and 48 tonnes of salt from our own brand products.

It's not just about reformulating some of our own brand products so they contain less saturated fat, sugar and salt; it's also about giving our customers a wider choice – for example by expanding our vegan, vegetarian and Free From ranges for a more sustainable and inclusive diet. Earlier this year we launched our new Plant Based range which includes lots of healthy options as well as some treats too and our customers have been delighted with the range.

Helping parents to identify healthier choices for their children and encouraging children to eat well is also at the forefront of our focus. We were the first retailer to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s and we’re really pleased to see so many of our younger customers enjoying our ‘Garden Gang’, products. We have added fun characters to the design of our packed fresh fruits, to encourage children to eat more of them. In addition we have removed cartoon characters from our Own Brand cereals to reduce pester power as well as reducing the sugar content by as much as 26%.

We are also supporters of healthy eating campaigns such as Veg Power and Peas Please. Our current Veg Superheroes in store activity has been really well received by customers, our community champions and the children taking part. We have asked children to design their own vegetable-based recipe and send them to us with chance for some exciting prizes to encourage them to think about all the ways they can eat veg.

We know that for many people planning a healthy diet on a budget can be challenging so we are really proud of our ASDA magazine which is packed with healthy family recipes. They are all clearly labelled with traffic lights and the healthier options hold our Live Better icon. Our One Basket Five Meals feature supports customers to feed a family of four for under £30.00 - and the recipes are nutritionally balanced. We have received brilliant feedback from customers – breaking down the barriers to healthy eating

We are committed to making it easier for the 18 million customers who shop with us each week to make healthier choices

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