The plan, first revealed by Marketing, is inspired by a similar scheme in the US spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Coca-Cola GB, Kerry Foods, Kraft, Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo, Premier Foods, Unilever, Beefeater (Whitbread) and Subway each made commitments to cut the calories of their products.
The commitments include:
Tesco is on track to remove 1.8bn calories from its soft drinks, will expand its Eat, Live and Enjoy range of low-calorie meals and is making it easier for shoppers to spot low-calorie options through its "Green Ping" labels.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "This pledge is just the start of what must be a bigger, broader commitment from the food industry. But it is a great step in the right direction and will help million of us eat and drink fewer calories."
However Charlie Powell, campaigns director for lobby group the Children's Food Campaign, dismissed the plan as "an industry game of smoke and mirrors".
"We note that the calorie reduction examples only cover small proportions of companies' products and that big names such as McDonald's, Burger King and KFC are conspicuously missing. Without an end to junk food marketing promotions, these token gestures become totally irrelevant," he concluded.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk