Dairy UK Update | Dairy APPG 'Sorely Disappointed' by Dairy Reduction in Eatwell Guide

The Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group has issued a statement to express its disappointment following the publication of the new Eatwell Guide and the reduction of the recommended dairy intake.


Commenting on the reduction of the recommended dairy intake in the new Eatwell Guide, Heather Wheeler MP and members* of the Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group said:

"We are sorely disappointed by Public Health England's decision to reduce the dairy food group in the new Eatwell guide.

"The Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group just released a report which highlights the essential role of dairy products in a healthy and balanced diet, based on robust evidence provided by nutrition and health experts. This evidence is widely available and it is therefore both puzzling and frustrating to see that official dietary guidelines would not rely on it.

"Dairy products are full of key nutrients we all need, from the well-known calcium and protein to the lesser-known iodine and vitamin B12. We should be making every effort to encourage dairy consumption, not taking steps to reduce it. In our report 'Putting Dairy Back on the Daily Menu', we called for a 3-a-Day dairy programme to remind consumers of the unique nutritional value of dairy products. The new Eatwell guide is at odds with our recommendations and we plan on discussing this further with the Department of Health and Public Health England."

*Signatories include Heather Wheeler MP, Chairman (Conservative), Margaret Ritchie MP, Vice-Chair (SLDP), Simon Hoare MP, Vice-Chair (Conservative), Neil Parish MP, Member (Conservative), Angela Smith MP, Member (Labour), Baroness Byford, Member (Conservative), Tom Elliott MP, Member (UUP).

Categories: 2016


Revised Eatwell Plate is Baffling and Disappointing, says Dairy UK

Commenting on Public Health England's new Eatwell guide, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK said:

"Dairy products remain a key part of the Eatwell guide which is important for the nation's diet, but the decision by Public Health England to reduce the dairy food group in the revised eatwell plate is both baffling and disappointing.

"In the UK, dietary guidelines disregard an ever-growing body of robust, science-based evidence which stresses the importance of dairy consumption at all ages. It is genuinely disconcerting to see that the dairy food group being disadvantaged by a public health campaign. At a time when obesity is a real crisis for children and adults alike, nutrient-dense whole foods such as dairy products should be put front and centre in dietary guidelines. Furthermore, dairy products are used in 98% of homes around the UK and only yesterday the Chancellor in his Budget speech excluded dairy products from the sugar tax.

"Public Health England's decision goes against a series of recent public announcements and reports which show a better understanding of the role of milk and dairy products in a healthy and balanced diet by Government and Parliamentarians. These include the latest Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on carbohydrates and human health, the recent Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group recommendations on dairy and public health as well as the Government's recognition of dairy products' nutritional value through their exemption from the upcoming sugar tax. The message has been clear – dairy products should be celebrated and promoted.

"Looking outside our borders, a long list of countries such as France, Canada, Australia and many more have had successful 3-a-Day dairy consumption programmes for years which all emphasise the importance of dairy foods.

"The dairy industry was not consulted during this process and had no opportunity to give scientific evidence or help prevent serious flaws in the guidelines. For example, we do not believe that vulnerable groups such as breastfeeding women or teenage girls can practically meet their needs for calcium or iodine using the new eatwell plate.

"We need to understand how Public Health England reached their conclusions. Therefore, we will request all documents behind this decision and we will conduct our own modelling once these documents are made available."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Update | AHDB Dairy Strengthens Commitment to Market Development

Following productive discussions with Dairy UK, the AHDB Dairy Board has approved the release of funding for market development activities including promotion and education.


Plans to explore dairy market development were confirmed yesterday when the AHDB Dairy board agreed a total budget of up to £3.5m over the next three years for future activity.

This provisional budget represents an extra £1.8m in total over the three years compared with the draft market development budget which went out for consultation.

During the Board meeting, members also agreed to work with Dairy UK to establish a dairy marketing forum to explore opportunities for a co-funded European Union campaign which would be subject to an application in the next EU funding window.

Board chairman Gwyn Jones said: "This gives us a clear chance to develop market opportunities for the dairy industry.

"It must, however, be recognised it's not the whole answer for the prevailing challenging market conditions the industry is facing."

Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK said: "We welcome this decision. It is vital that the dairy industry educates UK consumers on the nutritional benefits of dairy and promotes the excellence of our dairy products in key exports markets. Developing demand for our quality dairy produce and focusing on being more market-led will be key to improve the state of the industry going forward."

Amanda Ball AHDB Dairy strategy director said, "This is welcome news as it give us the opportunity to create positive demand. We will also work with Dairy UK and its exporters group to highlight what AHDB currently does in other sectors and use that to identify opportunities for dairy.

"There is much to be done and we are already in preliminary discussions with Dairy UK."

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK said, "This is very positive news. Working together we have a unique opportunity to develop long term sustainable consumption in the domestic market as well as in international markets.

"The next steps will be making sure we develop the right offering to leverage EU funding. This is not a short term fix, this is about a sustained focus on developing demand for dairy with current and future generations."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Vows to Make Industry More Sustainable

Dairy UK will continue to drive efforts to improve the dairy industry's environmental performance from farm to fork.

Through a strategic partnership with WRAP announced today, Dairy UK has signed up to an ambitious ten-year voluntary agreement, the Courtauld Commitment 2025, to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink production in the UK.

The goal is to cut the resource needed to provide food and drink by one-fifth in ten years, and increase value for everyone. The commitment's ambitious targets include:

  • A 20% reduction in food & drink waste arising in the UK;
  • A 20% reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK;
  • A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain.

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: "The dairy industry is a major player in the food sector and the Courtauld Commitment is a pivotal environmental initiative which, for the first time, brings all parties together under one voluntary agreement.

"More than 98% of the UK population consumes milk and dairy on a regular basis. So the challenge of ever more mouths to feed increases day by day, and the way that our industry interacts with the environment is hugely important.

"The dairy sector has been making tangible improvements for years and UK dairy businesses take their environmental responsibilities very seriously. There is clear evidence that the dairy industry is working extremely hard, and we are determined to meet an ambitious set of improvements over the next decade.

"This is a terrific initiative and underlines our commitment to stepping up to the challenge."

Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, added: "Courtauld 2025 is our most ambitious agreement yet and we are delighted that Dairy UK has pledged their support as a signatory. We are faced with some big challenges ahead with rising populations, climate change and dwindling resources. But tackling food waste offers a practical option to address these challenges and in doing so, will create new opportunities. Only by working together can we hope to realise the big changes that are essential to ensuring a more prosperous future for individuals, businesses and the planet."

Categories: 2016


European Commission Takes Positive Steps on Intervention

Dairy UK has welcomed the decision by the European Commission to double the intervention ceilings on skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter.

The decision to increase the ceilings on SMP to 218,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes on butter respectively was announced by Commissioner Hogan at the Agricultural Council meeting yesterday.

Commenting on the decision, Dairy UK Chairman Dr David Dobbin said:

"Dairy UK has consistently highlighted the important role that intervention can play in the current crisis especially during this spring's peak production period. With intervention currently filling up quickly, Commissioner Hogan's proposal to double the intervention ceiling on SMP and butter is very much welcomed.

"It is essential that there is an effective floor in the market and an outlet for short term surpluses. This will help avoid even greater downward pressure on milk prices in the current global over supply situation. We are happy that the Commission has listened."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK & RABDF Welcome Dairy APPG Report

Dairy UK and the RABDF welcomed today a new report published by the Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which calls for dairy to be put back on the 'daily menu'.David Simpson MP, Ian Paisley MP, Neil Parish MP, Angela Smith MP, Simon Hoare MP, Dr Judith Bryans, Nick Everington, Margaret Ritchie MP, Chris Davies MP, Tom Elliott MP

The Dairy APPG report, entitled 'Putting Dairy Back on the Daily Menu', highlights the key role dairy plays in leading a healthy lifestyle and looks at how government can work more effectively with the UK dairy industry to ensure that dairy consumption is encouraged among all ages.

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said:

"The Dairy APPG report is a welcome contribution to the debate on the links between dairy, health and nutrition. Milk and dairy products are packed full of the nutrients we need at all stages of life. Yet, because of conflicting media stories, negative messages and a flurry of questionable claims about dairy alternatives, it seems that the nutritional benefits of dairy products and their role in a balanced diet are no longer obvious to consumers.

"The science that underpins the nutritional benefits of dairy is formidable and we need to keep pressing home that dairy foods have a crucial role to play in a healthy diet. As such, we strongly support the APPG's calls for the implementation of 3-a-day programme into nutritional guidelines in the UK to promote consumption and educate consumers of the benefits of dairy.

"Last but not least, we fully support the APPG's recommendations for a cautious approach to reformulation programmes as policies which target individual nutrients do not always provide a balanced view of certain foods and can lead to misunderstanding the total value of whole foods. We have been calling for a holistic approach to nutrition policies to ensure that nutrition policies take into account the effect of whole foods and dietary patterns on health outcomes. Measures such as nutrient profiles fail dramatically to consider the nutrient-richness of natural foods such as milk or cheese and have a serious impact on the industry's competitiveness.

"We are very pleased to see so much support from all sides of the political spectrum for a greater focus on the benefits of milk and dairy products. The dairy industry is a pillar of the UK economy and we need to work more effectively with Parliament and Government to spread the word on the benefits of dairy foods and support the future of the industry."

Nick Everington, RABDF Chief Executive, said:

"Promoting the consumption of milk and dairy products as part of a balanced diet is good for the health of consumers, the rural economy and the nation as a whole. With dairy farming currently facing its biggest challenge in more than two decades, it desperately needs the support of the British public.

"Making consumers fully aware of the health benefits that arise from consuming dairy is vitally important if we are to have a sustainable dairy sector going forward. British dairy farmers are continually being told they need to improve efficiency but without the support of consumers this is a complete waste of time.

"Supporting the promotion of dairy produce has been and still remains a key objective of the Association since its inception in 1876."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Welcomes European Parliament Vote on EU School Milk Scheme

Dairy UK has welcomed the European Parliament's decision to put milk at the heart of the EU strategy to improve heathy eating through a better-funded school milk scheme.

Members of the European Parliament approved today the merging of the separate school milk and fruit schemes to boost the combined annual budget by €20 million to €250 million a year. Member states will now be able to sign up for this voluntary aid scheme, ensuring that that milk plays a key role in the promotion of a healthy diet.

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: "The European Parliament has quite rightly put milk at the core of the EU's health agenda to improve childhood nutrition and teach school children about the importance of healthy eating.

"Dairy UK has been working tirelessly with representatives of European institutions to promote the tremendously healthy and nutritious qualities of dairy products and therefore we are delighted that MEPs have taken our messages on board.

"At present, children across Europe run the risk of missing out on key nutrients which are readily available through milk and dairy foods. By ensuring that access to milk and dairy is increased for school children, the European Parliament is taking the right steps to promote milk consumption in primary schools and ensuring that nutrition plays a fundamental role in long-term health and development.

"Milk and dairy foods play a key part in teaching children about the merits of a balanced diet. This is extremely good news for children, parents and schools."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Statement on Efra Committee Farmgate Prices Report

Welcoming the Farmgate prices report published today by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said the entire dairy industry is taking positive steps forward but still needs government support to achieve long-lasting success.

Dr Bryans said: "The report makes a number of recommendations on exports, adding value and promotion that are very much aligned with Dairy UK's key priorities in these challenging times for the dairy industry. From farm to fridge, the industry is affected by harsh market conditions and we must continue to work with Government and its agencies to facilitate and stimulate demand at home as well as in key export markets.

"We welcome the Committee's recommendation to promote exports with the help of Defra and AHDB. Just last month, Dairy UK published a new export strategy to drive demand for our quality British products abroad and promote UK dairy globally. This strategy can help steer industry efforts in the right direction in collaboration with Defra, AHDB and other supply chain stakeholders. In order to develop these new export markets, we will need to showcase and promote the quality, the value and the integrity of UK dairy products.

"We fully agree with the Committee on the need for innovation and new product development to meet changing demands. We must focus on value to make sure we deliver innovative, appealing and nutritious dairy products to consumers across the world."

Categories: 2016


Industry Appeals for Government Help to Boost Demand for Dairy Products

Dairy UK has urged the UK Government to 'lend its full weight' to extend intervention so as to create outlets for dairy products this spring and summer in the face of the threat posed by a growing oversupply in EU dairy produce.

Dairy UK Chairman Dr David Dobbin has written to Farming Minister George Eustice to raise concerns about the rapidly increasing amount of skimmed milk powder being submitted into intervention.

In his letter, Dr Dobbin said: "Despite depressed returns, the growth in global milk production, especially from Europe including the UK, is still rising and running well ahead of global demand. As a result, stocks of powder, butter and cheese are high and skimmed milk is being intervened across Europe, including the UK."

Dr Dobbin said if the current milk supply production profile is maintained the UK dairy industry is facing a large surplus of milk over immediate demand this spring peak.

Dr Dobbin set out in his letter a range of options on how Government could help ensure a smooth transition on intervention.

He said: "We are asking you to use the lobbying weight of the UK Government with the Commissioner to achieve a smooth transition regarding intervention at this difficult time. This would help avoid further distress at farmer and processor level and would be a positive way in which DEFRA can help the UK industry."

In a call to the entire UK dairy industry, Dairy UK Chairman said: "All of us in the UK dairy industry have to up our game and do what we can to hunt out opportunities in domestic and export markets to increase demand for our quality British dairy products.

"Dairy UK has recently published a new export strategy for the UK dairy industry highlighting the need for Government to work closely with the dairy industry to develop ways to promote UK dairy globally and generate more demand in international markets.

"We also call on the AHDB to lend their financial support to that of the industry and work collaboratively with us to promote dairy products. We're delighted that they have taken some positive steps towards us and we are looking at how we can work together moving forward. It is time for the dairy industry to invest in developing demand for dairy products through promotion at home and abroad."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Appoints New Environment Manager

Dairy UK has appointed Chloe McGregor to help drive forward its environmental agenda.

Ms McGregor grew up on a small farm on the west coast of Scotland which is where she developed a strong passion for the environment, farming and politics. She holds a bachelor's degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Exeter and joins Dairy UK as Environment Manager.

Ms McGregor said: "I have always been interested in the way essential products, such as dairy, are produced and their benefit to the diet compared with their impact on the environment. The diversity of the environmental initiatives that Dairy UK is working on is both exciting and challenging and I am thrilled to be part of the process to drive the dairy supply chain forward."

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: "The dairy industry takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. Chloe is a very welcome addition to the Dairy UK team – she has the communication skills necessary to raise awareness of the industry's existing credentials in this area and the knowledge to help the industry deliver even greater progress. This is particularly important at a time when those who compete with us for global markets point to their own environmental credentials. The UK must also showcase its strong track record in this area and at the same time, we must continue to look for innovative ways to stay at the forefront of environmental sustainability."

Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Unveils New Industry Export Strategy to "Unlock New World of Opportunity"

Dairy UK has published a new export strategy to help the dairy industry unlock a 'new world of opportunity' on international markets.

The strategy, entitled United Kingdom: Exporting Dairy to the World, identifies a raft of actions and recommendations that will enhance the UK dairy industry's export performance.

Launching the report today Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK, said: "We have an outstanding British industry producing world-class products and the people in our industry have the ambition and the determination to succeed. To achieve enduring success, we must seize all the opportunities that lie ahead."

The export strategy's 17 actions and recommendations include:

  • Ensuring a skilled workforce is equipped for the future;
  • Improving the export certification regime;
  • Creating a one-stop shop for dairy exporters;
  • Establishing world-class inspection and audit practices;
  • Identifying market priorities;
  • Removing barriers to dairy trade.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: "UK food has an excellent reputation the world over and with a growing global demand for dairy, British producers should take the opportunity to promote their high quality produce at home and abroad.

"Exports are a crucial part of growing and strengthening the dairy industry and a key part of our plan is to see new markets opened, so that the sector can become more resilient, competitive and profitable.

"We welcome Dairy UK's ambition to enhance the UK dairy industry's export performance and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve this."

Dr Dobbin added: "This new strategy identifies a comprehensive list of steps that can be taken to effect real change in growth and competitiveness in the international market place. Among the key measures is the need for the UK dairy industry to have effective and fit-for-purpose certification and approval mechanisms in place.

"Our new export strategy will help steer our industry in the right direction and our efforts will need strong support from Government and its agencies to address trade barriers and unlock new opportunities."

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, added: "Other dairy exporting countries have followed successful paths and set interesting examples in terms of industry-government cooperation to foster growth and develop exports. We can learn from these experiences and ensure that the UK has efficient and cost-effective systems that support export growth while preserving consumer confidence in the safety and quality of UK dairy products."

"We have already increased our share of global trade in recent years but there is scope to do much more. To meet our goals, we need to take stock of and showcase how well the UK dairy industry is doing in terms of innovation and promotion, skilling our industry for the future, food safety and environmental credentials. Getting all of these elements right is essential in a highly competitive export market."

The report is available here.

Categories: 2016


Time to Clear up the Sugar Confusion

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, weighs in on the sugar debate.

It is no secret that the childhood obesity crisis in the UK is no longer a looming threat but a real peril for the future of our younger generations.

All food and drink sectors have a duty to take the right steps to address it and dairy processors and manufacturers have been working relentlessly to ensure they deliver wholesome and nutritious dairy products to consumers.

Quite rightly so, policy-makers have moved tackling obesity to the top of the public health agenda with the Department of Health's upcoming Obesity Strategy and several reports and debates in Parliament.

However, in the last few weeks, a number of statements, reports and initiatives have raised several red flags on whether appropriate methods and solutions are being considered to tackle the issue.

The "war on sugar" is gaining more support every day, from politicians, interest groups and even opinionated celebrities. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution and targeting individual nutrients does not provide a balanced view of certain foods and often leads to serious misunderstandings about the overall value of whole foods.

Look at yogurt for example. An all-time favourite of children and grown-ups alike, yogurt is one of the simplest and healthiest dessert or snack. In addition to tasty plain yogurts, fruit yogurts offer a wide range of options to suit different tastes and expectations.

Yet the recent Public Health England campaign on Sugar Swaps has dropped yogurt in a 'pudding swap' category alongside sugar jellies and puddings, turning it into a product parents and children should be afraid of. Worse, the campaign app, Sugar Smart, exacerbates the confusion on yogurt and other dairy products with mixed messages on the difference between naturally occurring sugars in milk or fruit and free sugars.

It is true that we consume too much added sugar in the UK and the idea of a campaign aimed at helping people understand the amount and types of sugar in their food could seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, although the concept had potential, Public Health England has failed to deliver.

The Sugar Swaps advice was recently updated to reflect the new Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommendation of 5% of energy from free sugars. At the time of the publication of the SACN report, we welcomed the recommendations as we agreed there was a need to clearly distinguish total sugars from free sugars. This was in light of well-established evidence that naturally occurring sugars such as lactose in dairy products or sugars in fruits do not have adverse effects on health.

Nevertheless, in spite of the updated guidelines, some of the information listed on the campaign website and provided in the app do not differentiate natural sugars from free sugars and use an array of intriguing sizes for sugar cubes supposed to represent set amounts.

When scanning the barcode of a product with the app, the cubes of sugar that appear on screen indicate the total amount of sugar contained in this product, including natural sugars, instead of focusing solely on free sugars. This is particularly hard to understand given that Public Health England's own report "Why 5?" warned that there was "potential for confusion as food labelling legislation requires the declaration of total sugars, not free sugars."

The SACN report also states that "with the proposed reduction in the population intake of free sugars, their contribution toward recommended total carbohydrate intake should be replaced by starches, sugars contained within the cellular structure of foods and, for those who consume dairy products, by lactose naturally present in milk and milk products." As natural sugars are not properly distinguished from free sugars, the Sugar Smart app cannot help consumers achieve these swaps.

Talking to The Grocer this week, I had to wonder why Public Health England campaigns seem intent on singling out whole foods such as dairy products which contain a wealth of essential natural nutrients. Why vilify a natural and healthy dairy product such as yogurt when milk and dairy products only account for 7% of the intake of non-milk extrinsic sugars for children aged 11 to 18 compared to a staggering 40% coming from nutrient-poor soft drinks and juices and 21% from confectionery?

And that's not just yogurt. Not only does the Sugar Smart app not make distinction between natural and free sugars for flavoured yogurt but it also fails to define the small amounts of lactose found in cheese or butter as natural sugars.

There are many more issues with the Sugar Swap campaign including complex access to relevant information or out of date and erroneous data. Yet Public Health England has been working hard to promote the app as a useful tool to help consumers make enlightened choices about what they eat and as a great initiative in the fight against obesity. It is therefore very worrying to see that the information in this app is either misleading, in contradiction with other campaign material or sometimes plainly mistaken.

Consumers may be savvy shoppers but not all are nutrition experts, nor should we expect them to be. Given its mandate on consumer education, Public Health England should take responsibility for its own material, commit to providing accurate and user-friendly information to all consumers and take the appropriate steps to fix the app's inaccuracies.

We will be meeting Public Health England shortly to address these issues. In the meantime, we have alerted a number of key decision-makers both in Whitehall and Westminster to ensure that the right messages and proper tools are used to tackle obesity. There is still much to do but a blind war on sugar is not the answer.


Categories: 2016


Dairy UK Response to the AHDB Consultation on the AHDB Dairy Business Plan

Dairy UK has responded to the AHDB consultation on the AHDB Dairy Business Plan for 2016-2019.

In its submission, Dairy UK states that a properly funded industry development body is important for the future of the industry and we welcome the opportunity to input to this consultation. Dairy UK also supports the ring-fencing of levy funds within AHDB to ensure that money collected from farmers in each sector is spent on their behalf and would support the continuation of the levy at the existing level.

The submission puts forward opportunities for domestic market development as well as the development
and the expansion of overseas market opportunities for British produce.

Dairy UK believes that AHDB Dairy should support a targeted, pre-competitive marketing campaign that reinforces key rational and emotional values of dairy within one or more key consumer segments and would complement and magnify brand marketing activity.

Dairy UK also asks AHDB Dairy to make a financial contribution towards overseas inspection tours to the British dairy industry in order to develop and expand overseas market opportunities for British produce.

The full document is available here.

Categories: 2016

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