Adding pepper to salt discourse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

A current driving force in the food industry - cutting salt
consumption in production processes - is the focus of a new
research initiative in the UK.

In May a report​ from the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) advocated a reduction in salt use, a position reinforced by recent comments from Sir John Krebs, chairman of the UK's food safety body, the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

"Consumers...cannot change the amount (of salt) in processed foods...which is the highest proportion of our salt intake. This is theclear responsibility of the (food) industry."

In line with the times, UK-based food research organisation Leatherhead Food International (LFI), said this week that it has set up a research project with a number of food industry partners to develop methods to reduce the level of salt in processed foods.

"The project kicks offlater this month and will deliver a programme of work leading to practical steps to reduce salt intake, without destroying the sensory perception ofour favourite foods,"​ said the organisation in a statement this week.

According to Leatherhead, companies already on board for the project include Heinz, Northern Foods, Walkers, Scottish Food and Drink and Asda.

The shake-up for salt use in processed food led the FSA to unveil a new salt model last month to investigate the effects of reducing salt content in different food groups on consumers.

The salt model, based on average sodium levels in foods within groups, is weighted to take account of the different levels of consumption of different foods.

In May this year the UK's food industry body, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), launched an industry-wide programme to reduce salt - or more precisely sodium - in breakfast cereals, soups and sauces.

According to the FDF, the industry has committed itself to meeting a target of a 10 per cent reduction in sodium levels in ambient soups and sauces by the end of 2003. Furthermore, and subject to consumer acceptance, it will push for further, similar reductions in this sector in 2004 and 2005.

The FDF stressed that UK food and drink industry has already worked hard to cut sodium levels in these products over the last few years - salt levels in breakfast cereals have been cut by 16 per cent since 1998, for example - and the new programme aims to continue this good work.

Related topics: Market Trends

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