Healthier living for all
Leading a healthy lifestyle is good for all of us and here at Boots UK, we recognise why this is so high on the Government’s agenda and want to do our bit to help. Eating well and taking regular exercise are positive steps that help tackle a wide range of health issues, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Our healthier living credentials
As the UK’s leading pharmacy-led, health and beauty retailer, we believe that Boots UK has a role to play in helping everyone look after their health and wellbeing, as well as helping to tackle obesity. We want to use our expertise to help our customers make positive changes and lead healthier lives. This ambition is reflected in the range of products we offer, their quality, and the nutrition standards we require to develop products made exclusively for the Boots brand.
- Our food, drink and snacking products are developed in accordance with healthy eating guidelines for calories, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, to help make healthier choices easier. Boots branded foods do not contain artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Our Traffic Light nutrition labelling is clear and informative.
- We recognise the importance of early years nutrition and offer products and support to mothers who are breastfeeding, bottle feeding and weaning their babies.
- We have an extensive range of vitamins and nutritional supplements that help complement a healthy diet. We also provide the supplements recommended by Public Health England for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, babies, children and adults who are housebound.
- We have products and services to help our customers live well, make positive changes in their lives, and improve their health, such as managing their weight, helping to stop smoking and being more physically active.
On average, we eat too much saturated fat, added salt and sugar, and not enough fruit, vegetables, fibre and oily fish. Many of us have low intakes of vitamins such as vitamin D, and minerals. Here at Boots, we strive to develop affordable, convenient products for our customers with these nutritional needs in mind. We prioritise making healthy food choices easier and set our standards accordingly to deliver an active product reformulation programme, innovative new products, and build business partnerships that positively influence our customers’ food and lifestyle choices.
Healthier snacking at till points
April 2016 saw the removal of sweets and chocolates from our tills, and our range of healthier snacks continues to grow. Our till policy now focuses on the positive nutritional attributes of snacks and drinks, allowing customers greater access to healthier choices.
Reducing salt levels
Since 2011, we've continued to deliver on our commitment to reduce the average person’s salt intake, and have made Public Health England’s voluntary salt reduction targets an essential requirement for the development of our own brand foods and snacks.
Controlling sugar and calorie levels
Since 2010, customers keeping a check on their calories have been able to choose a meal deal combination that is under 500 calories when selecting a main, snack and drink from the Boots range. We also set a maximum level of calories for every serving of food and drink. In addition, our development team ensures that unseen sugars in foods like bread, mayonnaise and salad dressings are kept to a minimum.
Nutrition governance and labelling
As part of our commitment to healthier living, we abide by strict nutritional standards for all Boots UK’s food, drink and snacking product ranges. We introduced the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Traffic Light colour-coding in May 2007 to help our customers understand their food’s healthy eating credentials. For every Boots ‘meal deal’ product, you can instantly see the amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt per serving. The percentage reference intake contribution combined with the Traffic Light colour-code indicates whether the levels are high (red), medium (amber) or low (green), in line with Public Health England guidance. We also use a prominent roundel symbol to highlight the calorie count per serving.
5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day
Evidence shows that eating a variety of different fruit and vegetables, and at least five portions per day, can have significant health benefits. That is why we developed our 5 A-DAY logo to show the number of fruit and vegetable portions that a food or drink contains, at a glance. The logo applies to pre-prepared fruit and vegetable snacks and the inclusion of vegetables, salad, beans and pulses in our sandwiches, salads and wraps.
We want to help our customers achieve the daily recommendation of 30 grams of fibre, so we label products that are high in fibre.
Specialist diets and plant power
Our product ranges are clearly labelled with symbols to identify products that support gluten free, plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles. We also offer a range of vitamin supplements to help complement the nutrients that can be in short supply when following restricted diets.
In response to health concerns regarding the sale of high caffeine energy drinks, we voluntarily took steps to restrict their sale to children under the age of 16 in March 2018. We also offer an extensive range of drinks with less than 5% sugar and all of our Boots branded drinks are free from added sugar.
Working in partnership
Tackling unhealthy lifestyles in the UK is a challenge for us all, but we have the ability to achieve more and reach more customers by forming business partnerships. Traditionally, we have worked with our suppliers, the NHS, Department of Health, British Retail Consortium and others, but now, Boots is working in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE). This three year partnership started in January 2020 with an interactive “Reboot Quiz” hosted on Boots.com. It uses PHE’s evidence-based approach to ask customers simple questions that assess their behaviour on a range of topics, including eating and drinking habits, smoking, daily stress, and exercise. Customers can then choose to continue on their Reboot journey and receive personalised product and service recommendations.