The UK is leading the world on salt reduction, using a strategy which is considered the most successful nutrition policy since the Second World War1. As a result the UK now has the lowest known salt intake of the developed world2. This success is largely due to the fact that the food industry in the UK has and will continue to lead the world in salt reduction, taking responsibility for reducing salt in their food and developing innovative solutions to enable them to meet the salt targets.
Many food products do not require the addition of salt other than for flavour profile and preservative factor. For these products, the removal of salt must be done gradually, so that overall population taste preferences to salt fall without the general public even realising. This has been done across a number of products, namely ready meals, bread, pasta sauces etc. However there are a small number of food products, namely cured meats and baked goods, where the use of salt is arguably required for structural and safety functions. Therefore whilst salt reduction continues to remain a public health priority - not just in the UK but worldwide - innovation and technology is key to the food industry if they are to reduce the level of salt in their food and reach the salt targets.
A report by Leatherhead Food Research provides food companies with valuable information to achieve their salt reduction goals and indicates that gradual reductions in the salt content of food, coupled with the use of potassium based salt or other ingredient based solutions, can be used to lower the salt content of all food in line with the Government’s recommendations.
Action on Salt's own report issued simultaneously strongly reinforces Leatherhead’s findings. Furthermore, our report identifies specific product examples which not only met the 2012 targets but went well below them. These findings clearly demonstrate that the 2012 targets3 and also the 2017 targets to are achievable; if one leading company can meet the targets, so can all the rest.
There are many ways to reduce levels of salt in your food. We've collected a umber of easy to use guides on how to make healthier pizzas, sausages and bread.
Caterers - Charlton House Case Study
1 - Winkler JT (2012) BMJ 2012 344; e4465
2 - The mean estimated salt intake, derived from urinary sodium excretion, for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.1g per day, with men having a mean estimated intake of 9.3g per day and women having a mean estimated intake of 6.8g per day
http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/2012/06/21/sodium-levels-among-adults/ - See more at: http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/news/Salt%20in%20the%20news/2012/79219.html#sthash.u3UeXDNE.dpuf
3 - The salt pledge as part of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal states
“We commit to the salt targets for the end of 2012 agreed by the Responsibility Deal, which collectively will deliver a further 15 per cent reduction on 2010 targets. For some products this will require acceptable technical solutions which we are working to achieve. These targets will give a total salt reduction of nearly 1g per person per day compared to 2007 levels in food. We recognise that achieving the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g of salt per person per day will necessitate action across the whole industry, Government, NGOs and individuals.” http://responsibilitydeal.dh.gov.uk/2012/02/03/f2-factsheet/