Asda cuts salt from entire tinned vegetable range

By Lindsey Partos

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Salt Food Asda

Number two UK supermarket Asda becomes the latest food player to
slice salt from foods, announcing plans to cut the salt from its
entire range of tinned vegetables.

The Walmart-owned group said as a result customers will consume 168 tonnes less salt each year.

Condemned for contributing to the worsening health problems in the population, food makers are under orders to cut salt levels in their processed food formulations.

Eating too much salt is a significant risk factor in developing high blood pressure, itself a cause or contributing factor in the rising incidence of heart disease, the world's number one killer.

Recent figures from the UK's food agency claim that every day at least 26 million people eat more than the recommended daily limit of 6g of salt. Men are eating the most with a daily average of 11.0g of salt while women consume an average of 8.1g a day.

But targets published recently by Blair's government in the White Paper on Public Health say the food industry must contribute to reducing the salt intake of the population to 6g per person per day by 2010.

The government estimates that processed foods, from soups and sauces to breakfast cereals and snacks, contribute about 75 per cent to people's salt intakes.

Asda reports that from 1 September customers can buy sliced carrots, baby sweetcorn and garden peas without any added salt. By the end of 2006, all own-label tinned vegetables will be salt-free.

"Contrary to popular believe salt is not needed as a preservative in the canning process. Heating and sealing the contents of a veg can does exactly that,"​ said the firm.

In general, replacing this cheap flavour enhancer is a challenge for food developers.

At €0.21 a kilo, any alternatives to salt will add unwanted costs to new product formulations. But salt, a seasoning and preservative composed of 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chlorine, plays a pivotal role in multiple foods on the market.

Flavour firm Quest recently introduced its new ImpaQ taste technology range that it claims can cut salt levels by "as much as 50 per cent, without compromising on the taste."

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