Food reformulation is the reduction of salt and calories from sugar and saturated fat in processed foods.

The foods we consume on a daily basis, such as bread, cheese, sausages, drinks, soup, and cereals contain nutrients and energy. There is considerable variation in the levels of salt, calories, saturated fat, and sugar within food groups. For example, there are great variations in the salt content within the product group ‘soup’. This is not only due to the different types of soup within the product group, (for example, tomato soup, pea soup and bouillon), but also due to variations within one type of soup. This gives an indication of the room for improvement for lowering the levels of salt, fat, and sugar in food recipes. This is called food reformulation.

The high prevalence of high blood pressure, obesity, and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Europe are of serious concern. Dietary factors – including too high intakes of calories, salt, saturated fat, and sugar – play an important role, alongside other lifestyle-related factors. Intake of salt, saturated fat and sugars are above recommended intakes across Europe. A modelling study indicated that salt reduction in processed foods can have a significant impact on public health. 

RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment staff involved in product reformulation are based in the Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services.

RIVM staff  

Matthijs van den Berg 

Head of the Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services

Liesbeth Temme 

Public health nutritionist, project leader, coordinator WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition

Ivon Milder 

Researcher Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health, coordinator WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition

Marieke Hendriksen

Public health nutritionist

Ido Toxopeus 

Data manager 

Susanne Westenbrink 

Dietitian, coordinator Dutch food composition database NEVO 

Henny Brants