Italy: Despar responds to rise in obesity

Date : 11 January 2019

According to the World Health Organisation and the Italian Ministry of Health, child obesity is rising across Europe. In response, Despar Italia is working to improve the nutritional value of its private label products.

Working with the University of Parma…

Despar has partnered with the University of Parma to analyse 300 private labels products from nine different categories. The products will be improved by reducing their amount of saturated fats, sugars and salt. Tests will help to suggest improved formulas and serving sizes, whilst maintaining the product’s taste, texture and shelf life.

Lucio Fochesato, Despar’s CEO, commented, “Good nutritional habits are key for good health and the nutritional quality of products plays an important role. Despar is known for living up to its responsibilities and this partnership with the University of Parma is another example of our commitment”.

…And private label suppliers

Together with the University of Parma, Despar will analyse products from the drinks, biscuits, breakfast cereals, sweet and savoury snack ranges. However, the company will also work with private label suppliers to reformulate products from other categories.

Against a backdrop of support

Across Europe, more retailers are trying to help shoppers make more informed, healthy choices to combat obesity. In France, Nutri-score labelling was launched in early 2017 and ranks products from A (very healthy) to E (very unhealthy). Each product receives a code based on negative nutrients (energy value and amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt) and positive nutrients (share of fibre, protein, fruit, vegetables and nuts).

The system adds transparency, helping to guide customers towards healthier diets. Retailers Ahold Delhaize, Auchan, Colruyt and Eroski are among the first to adopt the Nutri-score system.

We identified retailers’ need to cater to shoppers’ health needs as one of our trends for Western Europe in 2019. Subscribers can read about this and four further trends in our insight presentation.