Ministry of Health and responsible food producers have signed a cooperation agreement. It is agreed to improve food products – decrease the amount of sugar, salt and fat. This agreement with food industry is one of the steps to improve conditions of nutrition of the population. Other food producers are invited to join the agreement as well.
The first ones to join this voluntary initiative and to sign the agreement were the representatives of both Lithuanian and foreign food producers operating in Lithuania. Companies are UAB Coca‑Cola HBC Lietuva and Coca‑Cola Baltija, UAB Eckes-Granini Lietuva, UAB Fazer Lietuva, UAB Kėdainių konservų fabrikas, UAB Malsena Plius, UAB Mars Lietuva, UAB Nestle Baltics, UAB Orkla Foods Lietuva, UAB Rūta, UAB Vilniaus margarino gamykla.
With regard to high morbidity rate of population with chronic non-communicable diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission recommend to improve nutrition of population – to reduce amount of consumed salt, saturated fat, ordinary carbohydrates (sugars), to reduce amounts of these substances in the food products supplied to the market.
„Lithuania as well as other countries are obliged to decrease the consumption of these substances to the rates recommended by WHO to protect the health of population. We are glad that socially responsible business contributes to fostering of healthy lifestyle. It is not a secret that today food products contain a lot of sugar, salt, fat. Even partial change may allow to reach more healthy lifestyle without a change of habits". Minister of Health A. Veryga
According to the researches carried out in Lithuania, every day the population intakes food containing more than recommended WHO norm of: salt − 40 percent, fats − 39 percent, saturated fat − 29 percent, sugars − 22 percent. Such high intake rate of these substances cause harm to health, induce cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, infarct, stroke), cancer, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and other diseases. Therefore, Ministry of Health has initiated the cooperation agreement where food producers commit to contribute to population's health improvement and decrease the amount of these substances.
According to the Chairman of the Board of Food Association Mindaugas Snarskis, food producers face a difficult task which is given by contemporary consumers' preferences and nutrition habits – provide food products favourable to health, with same taste and trying to avoid significant change of prices.
"Change of the composition of food and favour to health are becoming the key goals for the food industry. That is why five companies which are members of Food Association decided to join the commitment to reduce salt, sugar and salt and committed to improve the composition of the food. We are glad to be invited to become the partners of this initiative, because we think that partnership of business and institutions is one of the key conditions to achieve good results. We hope that the members of Food Association which have joined the initiative will become and examples for other producers in Lithuania as well"- commented M. Snarskis.
According to the Minister some responsible companies have already decreased the amount of above mentioned substances, even they have not yet signed the agreement. Some companies invest in sugar, salt and fat reduction already for several years in a raw, others will only start the process of change. Even though not all companies managed to become the first supporters of the initiative, however, all companies are invited to join this agreement any time.