SPAR Italy’s drive to combat obesity

January 9, 2019 IN THE CATEGORY: Community, Own brand

DESPAR Italia has responded to recent warnings by the World Health Organisation and the Italian Ministry of Health about the increase in child obesity across Europe, implementing a project aimed at reformulating own brand products to better meet current nutritional guidelines.

In partnership with the University of Parma, DESPAR Italia is analysing 300 own brand products in nine different categories. The tests will help to improve the nutritional value of DESPAR branded products by reducing the amount of saturated fats, sugars and salt, as well as redeveloping serving sizes, increasing fibre content and suggesting improved formulas. The current product composition will be reformulated, while maintaining certain features, such as taste, texture and shelf life.

Having already analysed categories such as drinks, biscuits, breakfast cereals, sweet and savoury snacks, DESPAR is currently seeking the best way of reformulating products which still need amending by working closely with own brand suppliers.

Obesity, especially amongst children, has taken a very central place in public health discussions, being directly linked to the risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

“Good nutritional habits are key for good health and the nutritional quality of products plays an important role,” said Lucio Fochesato, General Manager at DESPAR Italia. “DESPAR is known for living up to its responsibilities and this partnership with the University of Parma is another example of our commitment. We are proud to contribute to this important objective – protecting the health of younger generations.”

Daniele Del Rio, Chairman of the Higher School for Studies on Food and Nutrition at the University of Parma, and head of the partnership project with DESPAR Italia, also commented saying: “Product reformulation is a very important step towards better food choices. Our project, in partnership with DESPAR, is particularly useful because it involves the nutritional reformulation of products across different food categories. It covers a full diet with the correct combination of foods, and is a winning strategy improving standards of health.”

Source: DESPAR Italia

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About SPAR Italy

SPAR International first granted a licence for the operation of the SPAR Brand to SPAR Italy in 1959. The first store opened in the latter part of 1960 and with it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in Italy. SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.

The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the majority of the company’s turnover is acquired through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain a key part of the business.