According to the National Diet and Nutritional Survey, around 1 in 6 UK adults have low levels of vitamin D and fewer than one third (32%) know what the recommended daily intake amount is. The problem is so widespread that the UK government is currently conducting a review in a bid to identify ways to boost the nation’s intake and promote the importance of vitamin D.
In a bid to identify ‘innovative ways’ to boost intake across the population, the government is consulting health experts, retailers, food manufacturers and other industry bodies – and Danone UK&Ireland wants to take part in the debate.
The company has recently released a new range of vitamin D-fortified yogurt drinks under its Actimel Plus range. Each shot provides 5 micrograms of vitamin D, as well as 15% of the recommended dose of vitamins B6 and B12 and billions of live cultures. Danone suggested this is the first product of its kind to offer this particular mix of micronutrients in a single yogurt shot. A Danone spokesperson told us that while the target market for this product are health-conscious consumers, the shots are suitable for anyone aged 3 or over.
Zoë-Marie Ellis, head of nutrition & science communication at Danone UK & Ireland, commented: “UK guidelines recommend that we should be aiming to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. It has been reported that approximately 1 in 6 adults in the UK do not meet this government recommendation. So, the launch of our new Actimel Plus range, which is rich in vitamin D, can help you work towards this goal. Vitamin D is important as it supports the functioning of your immune system. All that, in the form of a tasty shot to satisfy taste buds.”
Asked if Danone UK&Ireland would be keen to engage with officials during the government review into vitamin D intake, a company spokesperson told us: “Danone UK&Ireland is a health focused food and drinks manufacturer, so this is a conversation we certainly want to be part of.
“Fortified products like our new Actimel Plus range can play an important part in helping consumers work towards this goal in the form of a tasty shot to satisfy taste buds,” the spokesperson added. “Indeed, supporting the immune system is also very important as we move into this post-Covid period.”
Fortified dairy’s role in boosting vitamin D levels
While food fortification as a means of improving nutrient intake is a relatively new concept, according to a study published by scholars from Italy, France and Canada, there are already signs of the role fortified foods, especially dairy, can play in boosting vitamin D intake.
According to the paper, fortifying milk, yogurt and cheese at 6.75 micrograms of vitamin D per serving more than doubled the vitamin D intakes across all age groups in Canada. In Finland, food fortification, particularly fluid milk, has likely led to the improvement of vitamin D levels in the country between 2000 and 2011.
In Sweden, it is mandatory for fluid milk to be fortified with vitamin D, and in the US, most stated mandate fortification.
Vitamin D Fortification of Consumption Cow’s Milk: Health, Nutritional and Technological Aspects. A Multidisciplinary Lecture of the Recent Scientific Evidence
Pellegrino, L., et al
Published: Molecules, 31 August 2021
Vitamin D Fortification of Fluid Milk Products and Their Contribution to Vitamin D Intake and Vitamin D Status in Observational Studies—A Review
Itkonen, T. S., et al
Published August 2018