Salt: The Forgotten Killer

Our 18th National Salt Awareness Week took place Monday 20th - Sunday 26th March 2017 


Image courtesy of Jamila Toderas / Fairfax Syndication

A recent opinion poll by Opinion Matters, on behalf of CASH, found that only 12% of people thought that eating too much salt is the biggest cause of high blood pressure. Therefore it is quite apt that the theme of our 18th Salt Awareness Week was ‘Salt: The Forgotten Killer’. Over the week we reminded people that salt raises blood pressure which leads to strokes, heart attacks and thousands of unnecessary deaths each year. We produced posters and leaflets to send out to more than 600 pharmacies, schools, libraries and GP surgeries, ensuring our message reached communities across the UK.

Everyone has their part to play to help reduce salt consumption in the UK, and food manufacturers are no exception. Over the week we focused on the 2017 salt reduction targets, which are voluntary targets set by the government to help manufacturers reduce the salt content of their foods. With the end of 2017 in sight, no further salt reduction targets have been set by the government and, worryingly, our Salt Awareness Week food survey showed that the current targets are unlikely to be met by the end of the year. This survey gained coverage on radio and TV, in national newspapers and online publications, as well as internationally in countries such as India and Kuwait.

Our highlight of the week was a reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 21st March. More than 100 guests attended, including members of the food industry and healthcare professionals. We had displays from McCain, LoSalt, The Co-operative, Kiddyum, Kudos Blends and SALTernative who showcased their reduced salt products and demonstrated their commitment to salt reduction. Andrea Martinez-Inchausti from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) told attendees that BRC members, such as Tesco and Waitrose, are committed to salt reduction but would like to have government support to help them with further reductions. Anthony Whitington, a producer of the documentary ‘Fixing Dad’ gave an engaging speech which reiterated importance of reducing processed food consumption, and its benefits to our health. Our host for the day, Sir David Amess, and CASH Chairman Prof Graham MacGregor also reiterated the importance of not allowing salt reduction to be forgotten by the government, as for every 1g reduction in the UK population salt intake the NHS would save £1.5 billion in healthcare costs.