MONTREAL, June 19, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Loblaw Companies Limited, Boulangerie St-Méthode and Hypo Délices, an allergen-free and gluten-free food processing company, recently joined the Melior program, having committed to reducing the amount of sodium in their products, among other improvements. That's great news for Quebec consumers, who will now be able to enjoy healthier foods that contain less salt every day, without changing their grocery shopping habits.
These commitments take on even greater importance when one realizes that lowering our salt consumption by just six grams per day can reduce deaths associated with cardiovascular disease by 18%1 and that according to an Ipsos survey conducted for Melior in 2012, only 11% of respondents said they read food labels to check the sodium levels in the products they buy.
Loblaw: less salt, just as accessible
This leading Canadian food distributor has shown vision by implementing the Guiding Stars program, which it has deployed in its Provigo®, Provigo Le Marché® and Loblaws® stores and will soon introduce in its Maxi® et Maxi & Cie® stores. In addition, the company has made ambitious commitments to reduce sodium in its President's Choice® line of products:
- Reduce by 22% on average the sodium content of 95 existing control label brands.
- Develop 151 new control label productsrespecting the sodium levels requirements of Health Canada.
"Guiding and supporting Quebec consumers to help them make healthier eating choices is a priority for us," states Anita Jarjour, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications for Loblaw Companies Limited in Quebec. "We are proud to offer Quebecers no fewer than 246 control label products with reduced sodium. And given the popularity of our President's Choice line, the impact will be that much greater," she adds.
Boulangerie St-Méthode: leading its industry once again
This renowned bakery has led the way since 1992, when it introduced a healthy trend by launching its No Fat No Sugar Added whole wheat bread. St-Méthode is once again demonstrating leadership by becoming the first bakery to join the Melior program and by targeting one of bread's "hidden defects" – sodium. Few people realize that on average, bread alone accounts for 14% of the salt we consume on a daily basis, compared to 9% for processed meats2. Why? Because we eat bread every day. Boulangerie St-Méthode has committed to improving its products as follows:
- Reduce sodium by at least 35% per two-slice serving of No Fat No Sugar Added multi-cereal and 100% whole wheat Les Grains St-Méthode breads and by an average of 25% in seven other breads.
- Replace at least 50% of the flours used with integral wheat flour in four existing No Fat No Sugar Added breads of Les Grains St-Méthode brand.
Benoit Faucher, General Manager of Boulangerie St-Méthode, sees joining the Melior program as a natural next step for the company: "Baking healthier breads is in our DNA, and recognition from an independent, credible third party is a testament to the seriousness of our effort. Through our association with Melior, we are setting the bar even higher and have decided to optimize our existing products rather than create new ones."
Hypo Délices: ready-to-eat just got better
Hypo Délices creates ready-to-eat products such as lasagnas, muffin bars and cakes using top-quality ingredients that are largely allergen-free for the Ange-Gardien and Délices Complices lines and that are gluten-free for the Délices Complices line. Products made by this Quebec City area company can be found in supermarkets across the province. Its four commitments are:
- Reduce fat content by 20% and increase fiber content to 2 grams for each serving of Ange-Gardien cake.
- Reduce by 5% the sodium content in Délices Complices lasagna.
- Elaborate two oatmeal cookie products containing more than 3 grams of fibers and with sodium and fat content no higher than 11% of the recommended daily value.
- Reduce the saturated fats by 50% in the Christmas maple log.
"At Hypo Délices, we constantly strive to combine high-quality, healthy ingredients with reasonable prices. The Melior program is helping us become more creative in continuing to offer our customers the best products at the best prices," affirms Judith Robert, President of Hypo Délices.
Simplifying healthy eating
Annick Van Campenhout, Director of the Melior program, is delighted to welcome these newest members, who have reinforced the importance of the movement launched by the organization. "Loblaw, Boulangerie St-Méthode and Hypo Délices are household names among Quebecers. And their commitment to improve their products means that much more because their products are so easily accessible to consumers. This is precisely what Melior aims to do: enable consumers to eat healthier on a daily basis without it being a complicated or expensive endeavour," says Ms. Van Campenhout.
Melior aims to improve Quebecers' health through their plate of food. To date, almost 40 commitments have been made by 10 signatories, including IGA, Pacini and Compass Group.
To learn more about the commitments made by the committed businesses, please visit: programmemelior.com.
The Melior program, from the Latin meliorare, meaning "to improve," is a Quebec initiative aiming to stimulate food progress and help improve the food supply in Quebec. The program involves voluntary charters of commitments toward nutritional progress signed by agri-food industry members. Inspired by a similar model in France, it is the first initiative of its kind in North America and has been fully adapted to Quebec realities. To date, 40 commitments have been made by 10 businesses representing all of the links in the agri-food chain.
The Melior program has been made possible through financial support from www.quebecenforme.org
1 World Action on Salt and Health (WASH)
2 Statistics Canada, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/sodium/index-eng.php
SOURCE: programme Melior
For further information: For information and interviews: Vanessa Roland, [email protected], 514-966-8963