Mandatory salt reduction could save more in healthcare costs: Study


- Last updated on GMT

Mandatory reformulation could lead to a 20% reduction in per capita salt consumption
Mandatory reformulation could lead to a 20% reduction in per capita salt consumption

Related tags Coronary heart disease Heart disease Heart Health care

Mandatory salt reduction may save more in healthcare costs than the current voluntary system, say the authors of a study published in Value in Health.

The team of UK researchers examined four different approaches to salt reduction in the UK, and assessed their relative effectiveness based on a review of the scientific literature. The four approaches were: The Change4Life health promotion campaign; front-of-pack labelling of salt content; the Food Standards Agency (FSA) working with the food industry on a voluntary basis; and mandatory reformulation to reduce salt in processed foods.

“Each policy appeared cost saving, with mandatory reformulation offering the largest cost saving, more than £660 million,”​ the study’s authors wrote.

The cost assessment included costs to both the private sector in reformulation and labelling, and to the public sector in introducing the policy. Total cost savings were based on estimates of lowered blood pressure associated with lower salt intakes, and resulting lower risk of heart disease.

Based on the average UK daily salt intake of 8.1 g per day in 2011 and best estimates from previous studies, the researchers estimated that public education efforts, like the Change4Life campaign or labelling, would reduce salt consumption by about 2%, to about 7.94 g per day. The current system of voluntary reformulation would cut intakes by about 15%, to 6.89 g per day, while mandatory reformulation would lead to a 20% reduction, to an estimated 6.48 g per day.

The UK’s Department of Health recommends that people should consume no more than 6 g of salt each day, while the World Health Organisation has set a lower limit, of 5 g a day.

About 35% of deaths in the UK are caused by cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke, at an estimated cost of about £30bn (€37.7bn) a year to the UK economy.

“Implementing legislation to reduce dietary salt in processed foods offers a valid way to substantially decrease spending on health care for CHD [coronary heart disease],”​ the researchers wrote. “Furthermore, the continuing work in progress between the FSA and the food industry could also result in further savings on health care expenditure in the future.”

They noted that programmes like Change4Life and labelling were still cost-saving compared to doing nothing, even though they were likely to result in smaller reductions in salt consumption.


Source: Value in Health

Vol. 17(2014), pp. 517-524

An Economic Evaluation of Salt Reduction Policies to Reduce Coronary Heart Disease in England: A Policy Modeling Study”

Authors: Marissa Collins, Helen Mason, Martin O’Flaherty, Maria Guzman-Castillo, Julia Critchley, and Simon Capewell.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Discover Noochy Crisp® for health bars

Discover Noochy Crisp® for health bars

Content provided by Gnosis by Lesaffre USA | 23-May-2023 | Product Brochure

In the comfort food market, bars have a major place. Consumers are looking for healthier snacks and are more conscious of functional ingredients in their...

Immune support for everyone

Immune support for everyone

Content provided by Kerry | 16-May-2023 | Infographic

Consumers of all ages cite immune health as a top benefit driving their purchases, along with improving gut/digestive health.

H&F Pectin: Plant-based alternative to gelatine

H&F Pectin: Plant-based alternative to gelatine

Content provided by H&F – Innovative Solutions for your Product Developments | 12-May-2023 | Application Note

H&F Pectins are excellent as a plant-based alternative to gelatine in many applications.

Flavor technology for bold, bright citrus flavors

Flavor technology for bold, bright citrus flavors

Content provided by ADM: Gain an Edge with Global Consumer Trends | 10-May-2023 | Case Study

Our collaborative global team of expert citrus flavorists combines technology and experience to make ADM the full-service partner you need to shape your...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more