In a boost to the UK government’s voluntary anti-obesity drive, Cadbury just announced that it would start limiting the calorie content in single-serve chocolate bars to 250 calories or less in the UK.
Cadbury is the latest brand under the Mondelez International umbrella to participate in the Responsibility Deal. Mondelez joined the movement in 2011 and has taken 13 pledges to reduce calories, remove artificial trans fats from ingredients, encourage communities to become more physically active and help the workforce lead healthier lives.
What is the Responsibility Deal?
Obesity is a serious public health challenge in UK, which has one of the highest populations of obese and overweight people in Western Europe. According to the global Burden of Disease study, published in medical journal The Lancet, 67% of men and 57% of women are either overweight or obese. Some figures also show that 26% of boys and 29% of girls are overweight or obese.
The Public Health Responsibility Deal is the UK government’s response to this growing epidemic, and today’s unhealthy lifestyle. This approach focuses on creating the right environment in partnership with the private sector, and helping people make more informed, balanced and healthier choices.
Organizations can volunteer by taking collective pledges in the areas of alcohol, food, health at work and physical activity. The pledges are designed to drive change at a national scale. For instance, food pledges include the following action items:
- providing caloric information for food products
- reducing the use of salt by at least 15%
- removing artificial trans fats completely
- reduce the total calorie consumption by 5 billion calories a day
698 organizations are participating in the Responsibility Deal and the number of pledges taken by each varies from a few to over twenty.
Cadbury and the calorie reduction pledge
In June 2014, Cadbury made a commitment to ensure that all its single-serve confectionery bars are 250 calories or less by the end of 2015. As part of this commitment, it decided to discontinue the popular Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar and a Half and its fruit & nut and whole nut variations by the end of 2015.
Family-sized bars were not affected by the pledge as they are meant for sharing.
But is it enough?
People responded differently to the announcement. Some appreciated the initiative, “it’s better than nothing,” others joked they would simply buy two bars instead, and yet others were wary of ‘paying more for less.’
But most people do agree in one criticism – the responsibility deal would be more effective if it wasn’t a voluntary effort.
Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister acknowledged the room for improvement.
‘We cannot credibly tackle the major public health challenges our country faces without engaging with the companies that play such a big part in people’s lives and it is vital that momentum is maintained.’
As more brands take pledges, competitors might come under public pressure to follow suit, further fuelling the movement to make existing products more suited for today’s customer.
This post is part of the People’s Insights monthly brief for June + July.