About the program
Australians have access to a huge variety of processed and manufactured food and drinks. These are tasty and convenient, and form a big part of most people’s diet.
Some of these foods are part of the 5 food groups, which we should eat every day, as recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Many are discretionary foods, which often contain high amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
We are working with food companies to gradually reduce sugar, sodium and saturated fat in some processed and manufactured foods and drinks. This includes various types of bread, cheese, savoury snacks and processed meat.
To see what foods are included in the program, see the:
The program is voluntary for food companies, but we encourage all companies of any size to take part.
Research has shown that reducing harmful ingredients in processed and manufactured foods and drinks is one of the most effective nutrition policies to reduce obesity and diet-related diseases.
Goals of the program
The Partnership Reformulation Program aims to:
- help reduce overweight and obesity
- help reduce diet-related diseases, including chronic conditions
- improve the overall health of Australians
- lower the significant cost of health care to our economy.
The program builds on the previous achievements of the Food and Health Dialogue, which has already reduced sodium content in many products. This includes breads, cereals, processed meats, soups, savoury pies and pastries.
The voluntary Health Star Rating system has also helped improve the nutritional profiles of packaged foods and drinks.
Meeting these goals
We began rolling out the program in July 2020, with:
- sodium reduction targets set for 27 food categories
- saturated fat reduction targets for 5 food categories.
In 2021, we expanded the program to a further 14 food categories, with:
- sugar reduction targets for 9 food categories
- sodium reduction targets for 3 food categories.
These targets cover 80% of the categories, by sales volume, for participating businesses. We encourage food companies to also reduce sugar, sodium and saturated fats in the other 20% of their products.
Participating companies will report to us on their progress in:
- June 2022 and June 2024 for wave 1
- June 2023 and June 2025 for wave 2
- June 2023 and June 2026 for breakfast cereals.
Read our implementation plan for more information, including the milestones we aim to achieve in wave 1 and in wave 2.
Food companies are also separately making their products healthier. For example, the 10 largest global food and drink companies have policies in place to reduce sugar content.
Who we work with
Because such a big part of our diet comes from processed and manufactured foods, food companies can have a huge influence on the diet of the entire Australian population.
We are working with the food industry to make these changes to processed foods and drinks, and ensure the transition goes smoothly.
The Reformulation Working Group consulted widely with food companies and other stakeholders on our proposed targets and category definitions.
Read a summary of the submissions we received.
We are also working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to:
- continue to monitor how much sugar, salt and saturated fat Australians consume
- look at ways to monitor any potential increase in potassium consumption, given potassium products might replace some salt content.
Some of Australia’s major food manufacturers have committed to the Partnership Reformulation Program targets for relevant categories. The following companies would like to be identified:
- Mars Food Australia
- Nestlé Australia Ltd