At SMASH, we don’t like to label food ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There’s a place for all foods in our diets; overall healthiness depends on how often and how much. Our Framework enables us to highlight options which are ‘better’ than what young people are currently consuming and reduce barriers to the willingness to try new foods.
The Nutrition Framework includes various rationales to reflect the range of eating occasions. It isn’t solely based on the government’s Nutrient Profile Model because it needs to reflect the nutrition information available to us (100g data isn’t always available for the eating-out sector) and aims to take a pragmatic approach to promoting the ‘better’ options in each setting.
The Framework is based on energy density caps, with upper limits on nutrients which can contribute towards poor health when consumed in excess, overtime - saturated fat, salt and sugar and reflects a mixture of Public Health England’s (PHE) 400:600:600 guidelines and calorie reduction targets, the Nutrient Profile Model and food-based standards. See the breakdown below.
Retail and grocery
The upper limits for calories are based on Public Health England’s 400:600:600 (breakfast: lunch: dinner) framework for ready meals, meal deals and quick service retail (ie coffee shops), which reflects a breakdown of the average calories recommended for adults across the day.
SMASH also includes grocery products (like sauces) with a healthier alternative, for example brands with a ‘lighter’, ‘reduced’ or ‘30% less than’ claim for calories, fat and /or sugar.
All other products must pass the government's Nutrient Profile Model.
The upper limits for calories for more occasional, indulgent meal occasions are based on PHE’s calorie reduction programme (which have been developed to encourage industry reformulation) as they provide a relevant overview of the average calories across meals in this sector currently, allowing us to undercut the 20% reduction targets and incentivise consumers towards less energy-dense options.
Where nutrition information is unavailable – for example delivery services and independent outlets – the framework uses food-based standards inspired by the School Food Plan and The Healthy Catering Commitment, with portion size guidance developed by the British Nutrition Foundation to account for overall energy density.
What about nutrients?
Currently, the spectrum in which foods are high (red) in saturated fat, sugar and salt is vast and has no limit. Therefore, items that meet the energy density cap also have to meet an upper limit of no more than 50% of the daily maximum reference intake (RI) for these nutrients. A 30% upper RI limit is applied for meal centres and 20% for starters, snacks, sides and desserts, per portion.
Although our model is based on upper limits for calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt we will use the app and website to educate on important nutrients and include fibre and protein in our nutrition panel.
NB there are exceptions to the above only in special circumstances. For example, a 10% leeway on upper RI limits if the dish has other nutritional benefits and promotes a better option within that setting.