Research project
30 | monthsEFFORT

Reformulation of food products

Related toSpoke 04

Principal investigators
Patrizia Riso,Daniela Martini
  1. Home

  2. Research projects

  3. Reformulation of food products

Task involved

Task 4.1.1.

Reformulation or improvement of relevant food products in the national context in order to: a) implement the nutritional characteristics also by reducing antinutrients or using bioprocessed ingredients (from raw products to ingredients) and limit the use of undesirable components (e.g. by using bioactives) along the food system b) improve food formulation and composition based on consumer perception and needs identified for specific target groups (in connection with Spoke 5 and 6) c) promote clear and ad hoc labelling as an information tool (in connection with Spoke 1 and 7) to increase the willingness to buy improved foods d) guarantee safety and affordability of new products (in connection with Spoke 1 and 3).

Task 4.1.3.

Enhancement of food quality and shelf life within the catering system (public canteens and fast-food chains) as well as the distribution system (e.g., retails) to improve products and consumption models offered also taking advantage from smart sensor-based procedures and new strategies targeting "inclusion and awareness” of the consumer (in connection with Spoke 2 and 7) and nutritional information. Activities start from analysis of overall food quality of mass food catering (e.g., public canteens), main fast-food chains and the large-scale distribution to redirect towards sustainable diet/menus/products and personalised/ precision nutrition (in connection with Spoke 1, 2 and 5).

Project deliverables


Selection of raw materials/ingredients with improved nutritional characteristics and limited undesirable components (M12)


Improvement of private label products strategy to better target nutritional needs and environmental and social sustainability (M30)

Interaction with other spokes

State of the art

Sodium, sugar and saturated fat (SFA) intake in the Italian population is still higher compared to the dietary recommendation, while fiber and omega-3 intake is far below. An inadequate intake of these components is associated with an increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In many developed countries, including Italy, a significant proportion of sodium, sugar and SFAs in the diet comes from packaged foods added by manufacturers, while fiber content is often low also in products belonging to food groups naturally source of fiber such as cereal-based foods. Thus, an effective way to reduce population intake of sodium, sugar, SFA and to increase fiber intake is through the reformulation of foods that are consumed frequently and are therefore contributing to most of the intake of these components.

Operation plan

The project will consist of various operational steps that can be summarized as follows:
1) identification of the main categories of products contributing to salt, SFA, sugar and fiber intake in the Italian population by considering the actual food consumption in the general population and in different target groups;
2) analysis of salt, SFA, sugar and fiber content in food products (both branded and private labels, PL) currently on the Italian market;
3) hypothesis of reformulation of branded and PL food products to reduce salt, SFA, sugar content and increased fiber content;
4) evaluation of the potential impact of the inclusion of reformulated branded and PL food products on salt, sugar, SFA and nutrient intake in the Italian population based on actual food consumption data.

Expected results

The project will enable to simulate the practical benefits in terms of reduced salt, SFA sugar and increased fiber intake achieved through the reformulation of several food categories.

To this aim, a list of food categories contributing to the intake of these nutrients in the Italian population will be provided. More, a simulation of the potential impact of the inclusion of reformulated food products on salt, sugar, SFA and fiber intake in the Italian population will be performed.