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Northern Foods

All Fox's Biscuits HVO-free

Northern Food has promised (15/09/06) that all the biscuits sold under the Fox's brand are now free of hydrogenated oil, including those containing soft fillings such as custards creams. This demonstates that other manufacturers who continue to use HVO in cream fillings no longer have any excuse to do so!

We have been successful in removing Hydrogenated Oils from all of our plain biscuit products (removed in April 2004) and those with a cream filling component (removed January 2005). We no longer use this in any of our products.

However this is not yet reflected across all packaging:

We are in the process of updating our packaging to reflect this change ... we are all under pressure to be more prudent with our resources both domestically and industrially; packaging films are printed as millions of individual impressions at a time and to just discard them rather than use them for their intended use would be wasteful and inappropriate.

This follows the 2004 removal of HVO from plain biscuits. Well done Northern Foods!

NF Announces removal of HVO from dozens of products

On 15 October 2004 Northern Foods announced the following, with regard to its biscuits sold under the Fox's brand:

"We have been successful in removing Hydrogenated Oils from all of our plain biscuit products and those without a cream filling component. However, hydrogenated vegetable oil is still present in the cream filling of our Classic Bars and other creamed products. We are currently nearing the completion of extensive trials of alternative non-hydrogenated cream oils and hope to have a viable replacement in the very near future. We are in the process of updating our packaging to reflect this change. "

It also released a list of HVO-free products in the Fox's range:
  • All Butter Brandy Snaps
  • Butter Crinkle
  • Chocolate Viennese Sandwich
  • Chocolate Creation Jaffa Viennese
  • Chocolate Creations Fruit and Nut
  • Chocolate Creations Marbled Whirls
  • Chocolate Creations Milk Chocolate Shortcake Rings
  • Chocolate Creations Luxury Raspberry and Triple Chocolate
  • Echo Bar
  • Echo Honeycomb Bar
  • Echo Mint Bar
  • Traditional Gingers
  • Ginger Crinkles
  • Nice
  • Officially Low Fat Apple Crumble
  • Officially Low Fat Cherry Bakewell
  • Officially Low Fat Toffee Apple Bar
  • Officially Low Fat Very Berry Bar
  • Officially Low Fat Cranberry Cereal Bar
  • Officially Low Fat Chocolate and Orange Bar
  • Officially Low Fat Honey and Raisin Bar
  • Officially Low Fat Apricot Minis
  • Officially Low Fat Apple and Raspberry Minis
  • Party Rings
  • Premier Tea
  • Plain Rocky Bars (red wrapper)
  • Plain Rocky Rounds (red wrapper)
  • Sports
  • Triple Bars
  • Wholemeal Bran

Northern Foods Position Statement - April 2004.

Hydrogenated Fats and Trans Fatty Acids

Northern Foods acknowledges the current concern about the presence of trans fatty acids in foods. These trans fatty acids arise predominately from the partial hydrogenation of polyunsaturated vegetable oils to make vegetable fats such as margarine. The process of hydrogenation, known for over 70 years, has brought consumer benefits by enabling the development of a wide range of products made without animal fats.

Fats and oils are important in the diet for supplying energy, and as a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins and flavours. Food fats and oils are classified on the basis of their component fatty acids as saturated or unsaturated; naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids are generally of the cis form. Trans fatty acids are abundant in ruminant milk fats, such as in cows milk or butter, and in hydrogenated fats.

In the UK, current recommendations are that no more than 35% of our energy intake, or calories, should be derived from total fat. In addition, no more than 11% of calories should be derived from saturated fats and no more than 2% of calories derived from trans fatty acids. The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey, published on 10th July 2003 by the Food Standards Agency, confirmed that we exceed the recommended levels for intake of total fat and saturated fats. However, we do not as a nation exceed the recommended 2% of calories derived from trans fatty acids.

It is by no means clear that reducing the occurrence of trans fatty acids in the UK diet will be beneficial. A reduction in the contribution of calories derived from fat in the diet is more important.

We are reviewing the potential for and consequences of reducing the trans fatty acid content of our products without adversely affecting product quality. We are working to eliminate hydrogenated fats from our chocolate confectionery and biscuits products.

Food Labelling

All Northern Foods products are clearly labelled with Nutritional Information confirming their calorific (or energy) value together with protein, carbohydrate, total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels. Total fat and saturated fat are currently considered to be of greater importance, because as a nation we exceed the recommended levels of intake of total fat and saturated fat.

Background info

This is one of the UK's biggest food companies, with sales of over £700 million a year and profits of around £40 million. It runs a large number of brands and is also one of the leading suppliers of "own brand" chilled meals.

Brands & business names include Fox's Biscuits, Smiths Flour Mills, Dalepak, Green Isle, Eden Vale, Goodfella's, Donegal Catch, Pork Farms, Bowyers, Hollands, and Matthew Walker.

Most of its sales are to the big supermarkets: the top 5 customers - Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Safeway - account for 70 per cent of total sales (2002 - 2003).

website is at


Post: Northern Foods plc, Beverley House, St Stephen's Square, Hull HU1 3XG.
Telephone: 01482 325432
Fax: 01482 226136


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