UK retailer Sainsbury’s has found that nearly half of UK consumers (42%) do not monitor their salt intake, while a further 43% don't know the recommended daily salt intake for an adult.
The survey data, released to mark the retailer’s support for the UK Government’s new 2017 salt reduction pledges, also show salt intake is seen as less important than monitoring saturated fat (41%), sugar (29%), and calories (21%).
Indeed, only 9% of consumers said they monitored salt intake strictly.
“This new research makes clear that it is really important that we help our customers to manage their salt intake within the recommended guidelines,” commented Sarah Warby, marketing director and chair of Sainsbury’s Health Steering Group. “We do this by providing clear front of pack labelling and an ongoing step by step approach to product reformulation to help our customers on the journey to enjoying food with a lower salt content.”
Warby said that 95% of Sainsbury’s own brand products already meet the government’s 2012 targets.
Confusion on salt
According to the data from Sainsbury’s, even though 85% of people believe that the majority of salt intake comes from salt already present in food, only 22% always or regularly check the salt content of food products before choosing. Meanwhile, a substantial 42% rarely or never bother to monitor their intake at all.
The findings also reveal that less than one in three (31%) are confident that salt poses a health risk.
In addition to Sainsbury’s commitment to the new salt reduction pledge, UK retailer Waitrose has also pledged its support of the latest targets set out for 2017.
According to the retailer, this follows a long-term nutrition strategy which has seen 90% of Waitrose own-label products already meet the Government’s first set of salt-reduction targets.
Indeed, Waitrose has made particular progress in more challenging product categories such as bacon, scotch eggs, pizzas and sandwiches, said the retailer.
“Our aim is to make good food even better as part of our Waitrose Way Living Well commitment and to continually bring our customers delicious, healthy foods as we reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats,” commented Moira Howie, nutrition manager at Waitrose.
The UK Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already recognised the UK as being among the world leaders in reducing salt in the diet, but said the UK wants ‘to go further.’
“The support of the industry, like the commitments given today, is a vital part of this,” she said.