Data from the ‘National health survey: added sugars’ study, released by the ABS, reinforces the need for stronger consumer education and industry innovation and reformulation, according to the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC).
The research shows that Australians are close to meeting the WHO recommended free-sugar level of 10 per cent, deriving an average of 10.9 per cent of their total dietary energy from free sugars.
“While we’re in sight of this target, we need to enhance consumer education and information to empower people with the information to make healthy food choices,” AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said.
“Progress is being made as Australian food and beverage companies are investing in innovation, reformulation, portion control and enhanced consumer labelling to ensure that consumers have a broader understanding of how sugar, salt and fat contribute to an overall diet.”
The ABS has previously confirmed an overall decline in sugar consumption in the Australian diet, with total average daily sugar intake declining from 44 to 31 teaspoons of sugar for males aged 19-30 and 29 to 24 teaspoons for females aged 19-30 between 1995 and 2011.
Mr Dawson says the industry continues to support current government, community and industry programs to educate people about the importance of a balanced diet and activity.
“The Australian Government’s recently announced Healthy Food Partnership is an agreement between government, industry and public-health groups to cooperatively tackle obesity, encourage healthy eating and empower food manufacturers to make positive changes to their product portfolios,” he said.
“Additionally, industry’s uptake of the Health Star Rating scheme and greater information through extended labelling on phone apps is enabling consumers to better understand what’s in food and what’s a healthier choice.”