F2. Salt Reduction

“We commit to the salt targets for the end of 2012 agreed by the Responsibility Deal, which collectively will deliver a further 15 per cent reduction on 2010 targets. For some products this will require acceptable technical solutions which we are working to achieve. These targets will give a total salt reduction of nearly 1g per person per day compared to 2007 levels in food. We recognise that achieving the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g of salt per person per day will necessitate action across the whole industry, Government, NGOs and individuals.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important

This pledge aims to reduce the average amount of salt eaten, to help lower people’s risk of high blood pressure and the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

In 2003, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that work be undertaken to reduce salt intakes in the UK in order to achieve an average intake of 6g per day for adults (SACN also set targets for children[1]).

Targets have been developed for salt reduction for 80 specific food groups that contribute most to people’s salt intakes.  Businesses should aim to meet these targets by 2012.  If met in full this will result in around 19 million kg of salt being removed from food and drink sold at retail. This is approximately 30 per cent of the total salt that needs to be removed from the diet for people’s intakes to fall from 8.6g (in 2008) to 6g per day.

Public health benefits

Reducing salt intake lowers blood pressure in just 4 weeks, which in turn reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Reducing salt intakes by 1g will save 4,147 preventable deaths and £288 million to the NHS every year.

How you can deliver this pledge

Businesses that become partners will need to formulate their products in line with the Responsibility Deal targets.  Food service providers will need to procure products that meet the targets and ensure any meals they prepare meet the relevant targets.

Other activities for consideration include:

  • Food service providers can adapt their cooking practices and menu planning to reduce salt in the food they serve.
  • Businesses can provide information to customers to help them make healthier choices to reduce salt.
  • Businesses can share information on best practice and technical developments in salt reduction, especially from the larger businesses to the small and medium enterprises, so that progress is made across all sectors.
  • Businesses can work to influence the wider European and world agendas to encourage salt reduction initiatives, thereby influencing salt levels in foods imported into the UK.

The Responsibility Deal salt targets guidance is also available.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

[1] 0-6 months – less than 1g salt per day; 6-12 months – 1g per day; 1-3 years – 2g per day; 4-6 years – 3g per day; 7-10 years – 5g per day; 11 years and over – 6g per day.

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