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Partnership for a healthier diet

The dietary patterns of the population affect public health. In Norway, the food industry and the health authorities collaborate to improve the diet of the population.

The letter of intent (Memorandum of Understanding, MoU) for facilitating a healthier diet in the population is a signed agreement between the Norwegian health authorities and food industry (food and trade organizations, food and beverage manufacturers, food retailers and food service industry). The first MoU (Norwegian, PDF) was signed on December 6th, 2016 and lasted until 31st December 2021. The partnership continues. A new and revised agreement is signed and lasts from January 1st 2022, until 31st of December 2025 (Norwegian, PDF).

The agreement contains specific goals related to reducing the intake of salt, added sugar and saturated fat, and increasing the intake of fruits and berries, vegetables, whole grain foods, fish and seafood in the population. There is also a goal of increasing the sale of foods labelled with the Keyhole label. 

Purpose of the partnership

For several years the Norwegian food industry has collaborated with the health authorities with the aim of making foods healthier. The partnership for a healthier diet is a more comprehensive collaboration with clear responsibilities and structure, ambitious goals and political attention.

The overall goal is to increase the proportion of the population who has a balanced diet in accordance with the dietary guidelines (Norwegian), and to contribute to achieve the targets of World Health Organization for reduction in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 25 percent within 2025. The target is prolonged to a 1/3 reduction in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases within 2030, in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A long-term perspective is necessary to achieve the desired changes. This partnership should contribute to achieving the national objectives of public health in Norway, as stated in the White paper on Public Health to the Storting in 2015 (in Norwegian, regjeringen.no):

  • Norway will become one of the three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy
  • We will have added years of life with good health and well-being for all
  • We will reduce social inequalities in health
  • We will create a society that promotes health for the entire population

Documents for the period 2022-2025

The letter of intent for facilitating a healthier diet in the population 2022-2025 (Norwegian, PDF).

Affiliate agreement to the partnership for a healthier diet 2022-2025 (Norwegian, word).

Objectives and priority areas

The partnership includes six priority areas where specific goals have been set for areas 1-5:

1. Reduction of the salt content in foods and dishes, and the reduction of salt intake in the population. The goal is based upon the assumption that the average salt intake in the population was 10 grams per day in 2010. The Governments target is that the populations intake of salt is reduced to 7 g per day by 2025. The assigned companies should contribute to achieve this goal. The indicative salt reduction targets per food group is a tool to help the industry in this work, attachment 2 (Norwegian, PDF). The long-term goal is 5 g of salt per day.

2. Reduction of added sugars in foods and dishes, and the reduction of the population's intake of added sugar. The goal is that the population's intake of added sugar is reduced to maximum 10 percent of the total energy intake (E%) by 2025. This is in line with the official dietary guideline on added sugar in Norway.

3. Reduction of saturated fat in foods and dishes, and the reduction of saturated fat intake in the population. The goal is that the intake of saturated fat is reduced to 13 E% by 2025. The long-term goal is that saturated fat contributes with maximum 10 E%.

4. Increase the populations intake of fruits and berries, vegetables, whole grain foods and seafood by 20 percent by 2025, which is in line with the Norwegian National Action Plan for a Healthier Diet 2017–2023. The long-term goal is that the population has a dietary intake of these foods at the level of the official dietary guidelines.

5. Influence consumer behavior to increase awareness and knowledge about health and diet. Examples of measures can be labelling such as The Keyhole, 5 a day and the bread scale. As for the Keyhole, the goal is to increase the sale of products labelled with the Keyhole label. The goal is to increase the share of products labelled with the Keyhole from 18,8 % in 2019 to 21 % of sales value by 2025.

6. Monitoring of progress as specified in the agreement.

Organization of the partnership

The partnership is organized according to the following model:

Organizational model.jpg
Figure 1: Organizational model of the partnership for a healthier diet.

The Minister's food industry group

This is a high-level group between the Minister of Health and Care Services and executives in the food industry, that ensures dialogue on overall guiding principles of the collaboration, and political focus on the areas of action. On the agenda is achievements, overall plans and future strategy for the work. Changes in the MoU must be anchored in this group. The food industry group meets twice a year.

The coordination group

The coordination group consists of representatives of the parties. The coordination group reports to the Minister's food industry group. The coordination group has the overall responsibility for coordinating the work of the MoU, including ensuring progress and evaluation of the partnership. The division of Public Health and Prevention in the Norwegian Directorate of Health represents the Ministry of Health and Care Services in the coordination group. The coordination group meets three to four times per year. The composition of the group is as follows:

  • 4 representatives from Virke, the Enterprise Federation of Norway 
  • 2 representatives from Norwegian Federation of Service Industries and Retail Trade
  • 1 representative from the Norwegian Seafood Federation
  • 1 representative from the Norwegian Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers
  • 4 representatives from FoodDrinkNorway/food and beverage manufacturers
  • 1 representative from the Norwegian Hospitality Association
  • 2 representatives from the Norwegian Directorate of Health
  • The head of the secretariat meets in the coordination group

Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Care Services are observers in the group.

The Secretariat

The secretariat assists the coordination group, the reference group and each priority area. The secretariat is organized by the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

The reference group

The reference group consists of renowned scientists in nutrition, food technology, consumer behavior, psychology and marketing. The scientists represent their research institutes, and may provide expert advice to the coordination group and to the focus areas. 

Priority areas

The partnership consists of 6 priority areas where the companies themselves choose which of the priority areas 1–4 that is appropriate for their business. In addition, all the contracting parties are committed to contribute to influencing consumer behavior towards healthier choices (priority area 5), and to contribute to monitoring progress of the work (priority area 6).

How to join the partnership?

The Ministry of Health and Care Services and the business organizations are contracting parties and signatories of the MoU (Norwegian, PDF). All other associated companies join the partnership by signing an affiliate agreement (Norwegian, word).

Affiliated companies choose which of the priority area(s) 1–4 they want to work with. The affiliated businesses work towards fulfilling the goals of their relevant focus areas.

In addition, all signatories must contribute to priority area 5 (affecting consumer behavior) and priority area 6 (monitoring of progress). The coordination group has a special responsibility on priority area 5 and 6. The health authorities contribute towards all priority areas.

Any questions about the partnership can be directed to the Secretariat.

Status of the work

As of 25th of March 2022 there are a total of 75 affiliated companies and enterprises in the partnership. The common goals in the partnership are based on data from national surveys from the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the University of Oslo and Statistics Norway. The data is in the form of food supply statistics, consumer consumption surveys and national dietary surveys.

Priority area 1: reduction of salt

The Norwegian Directorate of Health organizes the work on salt reduction. 46 affiliated businesses has signed priority area 1.

Priority area 2: reduction of added sugar

FoodDrinkNorway organizes the work on sugar reduction. There are 39 affiliated businesses in this priority area. According to the food supply statistics, added sugar contributed with 12.3 percent of energy in 2015 and about 12 E% in 2020.

Priority area 3: reduction of saturated fat

FoodDrinkNorway organizes the work on saturated fat. There are 39 affiliated businesses in this focus area. Saturated fat contributed with 14.5 E% in 2015 and about 15 E% in 2020.

Priority area 4: increased intake of fruits and berries, vegetables, whole grain foods and seafood

The Norwegian Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers, the Norwegian Bakery and Confectionary Association and the Norwegian Seafood Federation organizes this focus area. There are a total of 55 businesses that has signed to contribute in this focus area. From 2015 to 2020, the food supply of vegetables has increased by 5 percent, there has been a 7 percent reduction of fruits and berries, and fish has been reduced by 12 percent. 

Priority area 5: consumer behavior

The Norwegian Directorate of Health organizes the work in priority area 5. All involved actors should use their available means towards changing consumer behavior in a healthier direction. The goal is to increase the sale of products labelled with the Keyhole label. The goal is to increase the share of products labelled with the Keyhole from 18,8 % in 2019 to 21 % of sales value by 2025, measured by data from NielsenIQ.

Priority area 6: monitoring of progress

Monitoring is based on data from national surveys and other available sources. The independent research institute Fafo has been commissioned by the Directorate of Health to evaluate the agreement throughout the first periode (2016-2021). The evaluation reports are published at the bottom of this page.

The partnership for a healthier diet 2016-2021

The letter of intent (Memorandum of Understanding, MoU) for facilitating a healthier diet in the population is a signed agreement between the Norwegian health authorities and food industry (food and trade organizations, food and beverage manufacturers, food retailers and food service industry). The first MoU (Norwegian, PDF) was signed on December 6th, 2016 and lasted until 31st December 2021. 

The agreement contained specific goals related to reducing the intake of salt through the Salt partnership, added sugar and saturated fat, and increasing the intake of fruits and berries, vegetables, whole grain foods, fish and seafood in the population. The Salt partnership ended on 31st December 2021. The collaboration on reduction of salt continues in the new partnership for a healthier diet 2022-2025.

Objectives and priority areas for 2016-2021

The partnership included six priority areas where specific goals had been set for each area:

1. Reduction of the salt content in foods and the reduction of salt intake in the population through the Salt partnership. The goal was based upon the assumption that the average salt intake in the population was 10 grams per day in 2010. The goal was to reduce the average salt intake to 8 g per day by 2021, and to 7 g per day by 2025. The long-term goal is 5 g of salt per day.

2. Reduction of added sugars in foods and the reduction of the population's intake of added sugar. The goal was that the population's intake of added sugar should be reduced by at least 12.5 percent by 2021. The long-term goal is that added sugar contributes with maximum 10 percent of the total energy intake (E%).

3. Reduction of saturated fat in foods and the reduction of saturated fat intake in the population. The goal was that the intake of saturated fat is reduced to 13 E% by 2021. The long-term goal is that saturated fat contributes with maximum 10 E%.

4. Increase the populations intake of fruits and berries, vegetables, whole grain foods and seafood by 20 percent by 2021, which is in line with the Norwegian National Action Plan for a Healthier Diet 2017–2021. The long-term goal is that the population has a dietary intake of these foods at the level of the official dietary guidelines.

5. Influence consumer behavior to increase awareness and knowledge about health and diet.

6. Monitoring of progress as specified in the agreement.

Evaluation of the Partnership for a healthier diet

The independent research institute Fafo has been commissioned by the Directorate of Health to evaluate the agreement throughout the periode. The evaluation includes annual reports of activities and experiences within the partnership, an extended mid-term report and a more comprehensive report at the end of the period. The final report will be completed in june 2022.

Annual report 2017. Fafo-paper 2019:12

Annual report 2018. Fafo-paper 2019:29

Mid-term report 2019. Fafopaper 2020:16

Annual report 2020. Fafo-paper 2021:21

Contact information

Ole Berg, Secretariat

Først publisert: 03.11..11.2016 Last revised date: 25.03.2022 See previous versions