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Food quality

The composition and quality of the food we feed our children matters. Infants and young children require a nutrient-dense diet made from unprocessed and minimally processed foods that encourage a wide and varied diet. Ultra-processed foods, which are often high in salt, fat and sugar and which usually contain additives to make them shelf-stable or to enhance their colour and flavour, rarely support a good diet for young children. Food quality matters and we provide information on the composition of foods marketed to children, on eating sustainably and on food additives.

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Composition of foods marketed for children in the UK

A wide range of foods are marketed for infants in their first year for young children. Many of these are both expensive and unnecessary, and many are high in sugars. As part of our work supporting eating well for infants and young children we review the composition of foods marketed for those age groups and consider how well they meet our current public health guidelines.

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Additives

Additives used in foods to add colour and flavour are often unnecessary and there are concerns that some additives could be detrimental to the health of children and other vulnerable population groups.

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Eating sustainably

How we eat, and the foods we choose, impact on our environment, and it is increasingly being suggested that there needs to be a significant shift in typical eating patterns if we are to meet global climate change targets. In our work promoting eating well from pre-conception to five years we make suggestions of how to eat well in line with current public health nutrition guidelines, but also encourage a more plant-based diet and a diet without ultra-processed foods.