Industry Facts – Health FAQs

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No. 1 How many crisps and snacks does the average person in the UK eat?

According to the Government’s National Diet & Nutrition Survey (NDNS) the average adult man eats the equivalent of 9g of crisps and savoury snacks per day and the average adult woman eats 6g per dayi.

No. 2 Aren't we the biggest 'snackers ' in Europe?
  • People in the Netherlands, Norway and Spain purchase more crisps, savoury snacks and snack nuts (per capita) than the UK.
  • UK purchases (per capita) are similar to those in Germany and Sweden (4.3-4.9kg), whereas Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians purchase the smallest amount of snacks, at around 1.6-1.7 kg per capitaii.
No. 3 What is the average size for a packet of crisps or packet of savoury snacks in the UK?
  • 78% (units) of crisps and savoury snacks are sold in multi-packs, and the average weight of a pack within these multi-packs is around 24giii.
  • 6% of packets are larger than 100g – these larger packets are clearly marked on the packaging as ‘sharing bags’ and they include a suggested portion sizeiii.
No. 4 Are crisps and savoury snacks high in saturated fats? Are they a major source of saturated fat in our diets?
  • Crisps and savoury snacks contribute less than 1% of an average adult’s total saturated fat intakeiv.
  • 1% represents 0.3g saturates per dayv, whilst other foods in similar snacking categories provide the following: cakes 1.4g, biscuits 1.3g, and chocolate 1.7g per day.
  • By switching to oils such as sunflower and rape seed, manufacturers have voluntarily reduced the amount of saturated fat in standard crisps by over 75% (since 1991).
No. 5 Are all crisps and savoury snacks high in fat?
  • Crisps and savoury snacks are available with fat levels ranging from anywhere between 0.2% to 41%.
  • Manufacturers have voluntarily reduced the total fat content of potato crisps by around 23% (since 1991)vii.
  • Crisps and savoury snacks now contribute less than 3% of the average adult’s daily intake of fatviii.
No. 6 What about salt in crisps and savoury snacks?
  • 2% of an adult’s dietary salt intake is derived from savoury snacksix.
  • Since 1991 manufacturers have voluntarily reduced the amount of salt in standard crisps by over 50%x.
  • The sector has met the Department of Health’s salt reduction targets for 2012 and continues to work towards the 2017 targets.
No. 7 Do crisps and savoury snacks contain trans-fats?
  • SNACMA members do not fry or use partially-hydrogenated oils (the main source of industrially produced trans-fats) in their recipes.
  • However, trace amounts of naturally occurring trans-fats may be present in some foods as a result of dairy ingredients, for example in seasonings.
  • This was confirmed in recent information published by Public Health England (PHE) which shows that potato crisps which are fried in sunflower oil contained only trace levelsxi.
No. 8 Aren't crisps empty calories?
  • All savoury snacks are made from natural raw ingredients such as vegetables, grains (e.g. wheat and maize) and vegetable oils.
  • Savoury snacks therefore contain all of the same range of nutrients, micro-nutrients, vitamins, mineral and phytonutrients found in the raw ingredients.
  • For example an average pack of potato crisps can contribute up to 1.7g of an individual’s daily intake of dietary fibre
No. 9 Can crisps and savoury snacks contain high levels of hidden sugar?
  • The latest Government data shows that savoury snacks contribute trace amounts of sugars to the UK dietxii.
  • The average 25g packet of crisps contains just 0.2g of sugarxi.
No. 10 Are crisps high 'GI' foods?
  • The glycaemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating compared to a control/reference.
  • Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and so result in faster and higher rates in blood sugar levels.
  • The University of Sydney, which maintains the international GI database, lists 4 potato crisp samples. These have a range of 51-60 which is equivalent to low (55 or less) or medium (56-69) GIxiii.

National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5.1a Total quantities of food consumed (grams) per day: males (including non-consumers), by age and Table 5.1b. Total quantities of food consumed (grams) per day: all (including non-consumers), by age.

ii The European Snack Report 2014, EEA Country Data. Estimates based on headline figures for 2014; earlier copies of the annual European Snack Report and supplementary data from SNACMA members.

iii Industry data 9 September 2014. Supported by Kantar Worldpanel data 16 w/e 31/March 2013 as reported in The Grocer magazine 5/07/2014

iv National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5.11, Percentage contribution of food groups to average daily saturated fat intake, by sex and age.

v Calculated from National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5.11, Percentage contribution of food groups to average daily saturated fat intake, by sex and age and McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition, 2014

vi Nutrient Databank for Year 5 (2013) Of The National Diet And Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS RP)

vii Comparison between McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Fifth Edition, 1991 and McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition, 2014

viii National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5 .10 Percentage contribution of food groups to average daily total fat intake, by sex and age.

ix National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5.42 Percentage contribution of food groups to average daily sodium intake (mg ), by sex and age.

Based on a Sales Weighted Average figure for SNACMA Member Companies, 2015 (Walkers, Kellogg’s, Kettle Chips, KP Snacks, Tayto Group and Tyrrells Crisps). Estimated to cover approximately 65 % of the UK market by volume). Department of Health Salt Reduction 2017 Full list of targets (last retrieved 31/03/16)

xi McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition, 2014

xii National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme 2008/9-2011/12 (combined) data set. Chapter 5 Tables; Table 5.8 Percentage contribution of food groups to average daily non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) intake, by sex and age.

xiii http://www.glycemicindex.com/index.php (last retrieved 30/03/16)