F5(c). Salt Catering: Procurement

“We recognise that achieving the public health goal of consuming no more than 6g of salt per person per day will necessitate further action across the whole industry, Government, NGOs and individuals.

We will support and enable customers to reduce their dietary salt intake by taking the following actions in respect of procurement of products:

  • by the end of 2012, we will meet the salt targets for at least 50% of the products we procure (by volume of products).  We will aim to increase this over time and report on progress year on year.”

The following provides supporting information to help organisations understand how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve

This pledge aims to help consumers lower their salt intakes while eating meals out of the home by controlling the levels of salt in the ingredients businesses procure. Catering establishments signing up to this pledge commit to procuring at least 50% (by volume) of products to meet the salt targets by the end of 2012 and aim to build on this over time, reporting progress year on year. For some products this will require acceptable technical solutions.

Targets have been developed for salt reduction for 80 specific food groups that contribute most to people’s salt intakes.

The Responsibility Deal salt targets guidance is also available.

How you can deliver this pledge

Businesses signing up to this pledge will want to consider developing a salt reduction procurement strategy, if they do not already have one in place. This would comprise of business specific approaches and could include:

  • A ‘real’ time plan for key actions to fit with meeting the pledge
  • Securing participation of key teams across the business
  • Engaging suppliers in early conversations and throughout progress
  • Commissioning a baseline audit of salt levels in products to complement/form part of existing product review mechanisms
  • Identify and segment existing products/ingredients into quick/medium/longer term plans for reformulation
  • Ensure that salt targets are included in your businesses forward look and particularly new product development and reformulation of dishes and menus.

Salt targets

Salt targets have been set for around 80 categories of foods, but not all foods will have a target. Businesses will need to check individual products against the salt targets. The Department can provide some advice, where necessary, but we cannot categorise all products or assess compliance with the targets for companies.

The salt targets have been set either as a maximum, a sales weighted average (with or without a maximum limit) or as a processing average.  Where a sales weighted average and a maximum apply to a category both should be met.  The maximum targets apply to each individual product.

Maximum targets have been set where there is a large range of sodium levels found in similar products.  Two types of averages have been set to take into account variations of sodium due to processing techniques (shown as average p) and a range average which is calculated on a sales weighted basis (shown as average r).

This pledge is based on the percentage volume of products procured complying with the salt targets, and ideally businesses should monitor their progress on this basis.  Businesses will therefore want to consider how they will collect relevant data so that they can complete their annual update.   We recognise that this may prove difficult for some particularly small or very diverse businesses and the level of information available to businesses may vary.  If an alternative approach is used to assess progress this should be clearly stated in the annual update.

Making an assessment of products meeting the targets on a sales weighted average basis at a whole category level may be difficult for some businesses. As such, measuring which individual products meet the relevant targets and assessing the contribution these products make to the total volume would be an acceptable method.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

 

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