Five-a-day message boosting UK food makers

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fruit Nutrition

More than 700 food brands in the UK are using the government's
'5-a-day' logo on packaging or marketing material to promote the
health benefits of their fruit or vegetable-based products.

The department of health said this week that it has issued its 500th licence for the logo, launched two years ago, and designed to encourage the public to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

Evidence has shown that fruit and vegetable intake can help reduce the risk of heart disease, responsible for more deaths than any other disease throughout Europe.

The UK says the 'five-a-day' campaign is also part of its campaign to reduce cancer incidence although researchers have questioned the evidence demonstrating a real effect of fruit and vegetable intake on cancer risk.

Despite a major US trial revealing the weakness of evidence on this area to date, companies appear to be still benefiting from the '5-a-day' logo, increasingly seeking to maximise its positioning in their marketing strategies.

Tropicana, which carries a '5-a-day' advertising panel on all 1 and 1.75 litre variants of the brand, has recently redesigned its packaging so that the logo that previously appeared on back of the carton is now placed at the top. It also appears in the nutritional panel, underlining that a 150ml glass of the juice equals a portion of five-a-day.

There are also numerous retailers using the logo, including Iceland, which launched a major campaign last year to increase awareness that frozen foods could also count as part of the 'five-a-day'.

The logo can, in fact, be used on fresh, chilled, frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables which do not have any added sugar, salt or fat. Foods must contain at least 80g of fruit or vegetables to get a licence for the logo, which is handled by the agency CMI​.

The licence does not cost anything for use on generic promotional material, for example at point-of-sale, but on a fruit or vegetable product or pack, there is a fee of £100 a year per organisation.

Last year a government survey of almost 7,000 people found that there had been a good increase in fruit consumption over the prior year, up 4.3 per cent to around 4 portions (including fruit juice) per person each day. But a decline in purchasing of certain vegetables appeared to be hitting intake of beta-carotene, which dropped almost 3 per cent last year.

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