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Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland has teamed up with Food Standards Scotland (FSS) to launch a new fund to help Scottish bakery businesses make their products healthier.

The Healthier Bakery Fund is open to all businesses based in Scotland that produce sweet or savoury bakery goods such as cakes, pies, pastries and bread. This includes bakery and ingredient manufacturers, local butchers and bakers, cafés and restaurants and retailers.

The fund will support projects that reduce the fat, sugar, calories or salt content in much-loved products or that increase fibre, wholegrain, or fruit and vegetable content in recipes. These changes can often be achieved by simple actions such as swapping shortening for a lower-fat alternative or incorporating wholemeal flour into a recipe.

Successful businesses can use up to £5,000 of matched funding to pay for activities such as trialling recipe changes or nutritional testing.

Laura Wilson, head of Public Health Nutrition at FSS, said reformulation is one of the most effective ways the food industry can help improve everyday foods.

Recent FSS research found that the average calories in sweet bakery products, from out-of-home outlets such as coffee shops, bakeries and cafes, to be over 450, with the highest products reaching over 1600 calories.

Commenting on these findings, Wilson said: “The results are concerning as these products are among the top 10 food and drinks purchased when eating out or ordering in. When put in context with the 2,000 calorie recommended average intake for a female, these products can make up a big proportion of a full day’s calories.

“This fund will support businesses to provide healthier options for everyone and support a healthier food environment.”

Welcoming the fund’s launch, Ian McGhee, president of Scottish Bakers, said: “Our members have been focused for some time on improving ever further the quality and quantity of healthier products to meet the growing consumer demand for healthier options so additional financial support to continue to do this is welcome.

“However, this must go hand in hand with additional investment in consumer education and awareness on the simple steps people can take to eat more healthily whilst still being allowed the odd sweet treat for which our Scottish bakers are so renowned.”

The Healthier Bakery Fund is open until 30 June 2023.