A major drive to help reduce the amount of salt we eat by a quarter, including by setting targets with food companies, has been launched today by Public Health Minister Anna Soubry.
Research figures show that more than half the public (53 per cent) rarely or never consider the amount of salt when buying food, despite more than four in five people (86 per cent) knowing too much salt is bad for their health.
As part of the Responsibility Deal, today’s new Salt Strategy outlines how the Department of Health will help people reduce their daily intake from an average of 8.1g a day towards the 6g a day goal. It will do this by:
- Revising the 2012 salt targets for industry by the end of the year to encourage companies to reformulate recipes;
- Pushing the catering and take away sector to do more – by setting new maximum targets for the most popular dishes such as sandwiches and chips;
- Asking companies to help people choose lower salt options – through promotional and other activities; and
- Getting more companies across the food industry sign up to salt reduction.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “Today our typical shopping basket contains much less salt than it did 10 years ago but more needs to be done to help lower these levels even further.
“Through the Responsibility Deal, we are working with the food industry to make sure people are given healthier options with less salt in their favourite foods. The voluntary approach is working and we have already seen results in our everyday foods, but to get the greatest impact, we need more companies pledging to reduce salt levels, particularly in the catering and take away sector.
“The UK is world-leading in salt reduction but more needs to be done to reach our goal of no more than 6g a day. This is because eating too much salt can have a serious impact on people’s health – causing high blood pressure, which could lead to heart disease and stroke. Currently 90 companies have signed up to make salt reduction a priority, and we want to see real action from many more.”
Responsibility Deal Food Network chair Dr Susan Jebb said: “It’s essential we maintain momentum in our efforts to reduce salt in our diet if we are to prevent the many thousands of premature deaths each year from stroke and heart disease linked to eating too much salt.
“Today is the start of the next phase of the salt reduction work. This strategy combines work to develop new targets for reformulation, with action to urge more companies to play their full part and renewed efforts to encourage consumers to do more to reduce the salt we’re eating.”