|Institution:||University of Otago|
|Keywords:||National heart foundation; NHF; sodium; salt; processed food; New Zealand; reformulation; food industry; industry; labelling; front of pack labelling; Tick programme; tick; heart tick; nutrition labelling; marketing; salt reduction; signpost logos; food reformulation|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5546|
Objective: To evaluate current impact of National Heart Foundation’s Tick programme on food reformulation/formulation to reduce sodium in processed food. In addition, explore factors influencing food companies in the Tick programme to reformulate/formulate products to reduce sodium. Methods: Products from four pre-specified product categories were selected from National Heart Foundation’s database. Sales volumes (kg) from January 2011 to December 2013 were multiplied by changes of sodium (grams) and converted into salt (tonnes) producing a quantitative measure of programme impact. Data were collected via the National Heart Foundation, questionnaires and external market research group. Semi-structured interviews with company representatives were conducted, transcribed and themes identified through methods of thematic analysis. Results: Fifty-two Tick products from four categories were reformulated/newly formulated between January 2011 and December 2013. The Tick programme influenced food companies to remove ~16 tonnes of salt through product reformulation and formulation. Increasing consumer and industry interest in health and product nutrition were key influencers of reformulation/formulation. Internal influencers included internal sodium targets and input from nutritionists/dietitians. Multiple New Zealand sodium reduction programmes targeting reformulation/formulation were the main external factors of influence. The Tick remains a credible and well-recognized front-of-pack signpost logo. However, the marketing tool function of the Tick is influenced by consumer expectation and Tick dominance within specific product categories. Conclusion: The National Heart Foundation’s Tick programme has evolved over the past 15 years and remains effective in influencing sodium reduction in processed foods. There are multiple factors influencing sodium reformulation and formulation of lower sodium products, which have contributed greatly to overall sodium reduction in processed foods in New Zealand.