Sustainability was the hot topic at this year’s BFJA annual symposium
The middle of June in the UK always sees Royal Ascot and the British Fruit Juice Association (BFJA) Annual Symposium. This year was no different. More than 80 luminaries from the fruit and vegetable juice industry in the UK and beyond came together at the Innholder’s Hall in London to discuss the most pressing industry issues.
Sustainability was the hot topic on this year’s agenda. It has long been in the interests of all businesses to ensure that they can do better from a sustainability point of view – be that in the sense of working conditions, environmental and supply chain practices or even the overall future growth and stability of the business.
From the perspective of fruit juice, it also includes new product development for better nutrition. Piet Haasen, Senior Innovation Manager at Friesland Campina Riedel explained to delegates: “We have a clear plan of action on sustainability across our business. This includes the reduction of sugar in its products in drinks that have added sugar (by 20-40%), a reduction in the use of plastic and an overall improvement of conditions for farmers”.
The aims of Friesland Campina Riedel dovetail nicely into plans that Public Health England is putting together for sugar reduction targets across a number of different food and drink categories, including fruit and vegetable juices. Dr Alison Tedstone informed the symposium that according to SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition), sugar consumption increases energy intake and is also associated with an increased risk of tooth decay. When this is added to the obesity crisis in the UK, it is necessary to make moderations to our diets. Public Health England is committed to a collaborative approach and working with industry to reduce sugar in products by 20% by 2020 and 5% by August 2017.
“These targets will be tough for fruit juice, which is simply fruit juiced,” stated Gaynor Ferrari, Campaign Director for a pan-European campaign extolling the health benefits of drinking pure fruit juice. Gaynor reported back on the progress of the campaign, Fruit Juice Matters, which is run under the auspices of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) and focuses on science and education, to ensure that people are not put off drinking fruit juice and that they understand the benefits, including vitamin C, micronutrients and folates.
The next 12 months
Rounding up the symposium, members of the BFJA reviewed progress on the significant changes that the Association is undergoing at the moment, with committee changes and a new national secretary. The BFJA It is reaching out for new members and working with sister organisations very closely, including the British Soft Drinks Association. Interesting and dynamic times lay ahead.