LONDON — Leading food companies in the United Kingdom have signed onto a “responsibility deal” and are working with the country’s Department of Health to reduce the amount of saturated fats in food products. Companies that have signed a voluntary agreement include Mondel─ôz International, Nestle, and Unilever, as well as such retailers as Aldi, Subway, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

“It’s hugely encouraging that companies providing almost half of the food available on the U.K. market have committed to this new responsibility deal pledge and they are leading the way to give their customers healthier products and lower fat alternatives,” said Jane Ellison, public health minister for the U.K.

The Department of Health estimates that reducing the amount of saturated fats U.K. consumers eat by 15% may prevent approximately 2,600 premature deaths per year from conditions such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke.

Mondel─ôz International has committed to reformulate products throughout its portfolio, including such brands as Barny, belVita and Oreo; Nestle has committed to reducing the amount of saturated fats in Kit Kat brand bars; and Unilever said it will continue to invest in spreads and blends that provide healthier options. The company also said it will promote healthy eating by encouraging swaps in cooking and baking with lower saturated fat alternatives.

“These significant commitments to reduce saturated fat in a wide range of products build on the achievements already delivered by a number of our members, which empower consumers to make healthier choices appropriate for their lifestyles,” said Melanie Leech, director general of the United Kingdom’s Food and Drink Federation.