Update on salt targets review and second views seeking exercise

Work to review the salt targets, which cover 80 categories of food and were to be achieved by 2012, commenced earlier in the year. The views seeking exercise, covering the first tranche of categories considered in a series of meetings in June and July, was published in the summer. Further information on this is available.  Since that time work to review the remaining categories, and some further work arising from the June/July meetings, has been ongoing and is now completed.

This has involved:

  1. Reviewing the data analysis for foods covered by the meat products categories with a view to revising the suggested target figures and where appropriate introducing maximum or sales weighted average targets where they do not currently exist;
  2. Reviewing the placement of products in the morning goods category with a view to making suggestions on how these could be better placed and proposing revised targets as appropriate;
  3. Reviewing the placement of products in the butter and fat spreads categories with a view to making suggestions on how these could be better placed and proposing revised targets as appropriate;
  4. Holding two sector specific meetings to discuss salt targets for stocks, gravies and bouillons, and for cakes and biscuits;
  5. Conducting data analysis and reviewing progress for the remaining categories not covered by the meetings in June and July or the two further meetings detailed above.

A series of documents has been produced to cover this work and is now available for comment.

1.     Meat products

This document includes the proposals for additional targets for a number of meat products categories. It also includes proposals for revisions to the 2012 targets for frankfurters, cooked sausages and cooked, uncured meats which were not discussed in detail at the July meeting. Comments are now invited on these proposals.

 2.     Morning goods

This document covers the proposals for splitting products currently included in the morning goods category into two new categories and relevant targets. Comments are now invited on these proposals.

 3.     Butter and fat spreads

This document covers the proposals for revisions to the butter and fat spreads categories including more appropriate product categorisation and relevant targets. Comments are now invited on these proposals.

4.     Meeting notes

Two meetings were held to discuss proposals for revised targets for the cakes and biscuits categories, and to consider the technical issues and proposals for new targets for stocks, gravies and bouillons. The notes of these sector specific meetings are available. Comments made at each meeting are unattributed to individual attendees or their business or organisation.

Further consideration of the categorisation of products, and therefore the targets that would be proposed, was required following both the cakes and biscuits meeting, and the meeting to discuss stocks, gravies and bouillons. Details of this work can be found in the documents available on cakes and biscuits and stocks, gravies and bouillons.  Comments are now invited on these proposals.

Please note that we are not requesting comments on the meeting notes themselves.

5.     All other categories

For the salt targets categories not covered by the sector specific meetings, an assessment of progress towards meeting the 2012 targets has been undertaken. This has involved reviewing the available Kantar data, and other factors affecting sodium reduction in these foods. As a result of this assessment, revised targets have been proposed.

There is one document per overarching category and all sub-categories can be found within it e.g. category 7 Baked beans includes separate analysis for categories 7.1 Baked Beans in tomato sauce without accompaniments and 7.2 Baked beans and canned pasta with accompaniments. Each document can be accessed by clicking on the category name below.

The categories covered by these documents are:

Comments are now invited on these proposals.

Next steps for the documents now published

Interested parties are now invited to:

  • review the documents now published, as appropriate, and provide any comments on the relevant issues and the suggested revised figures for each target category;
  • provide any other additional information, including data on sodium/salt levels, that will help extend our understanding of the category.

Key questions to be answered

Please submit your information in response to the following questions for each food category relevant to your company portfolio:

  • What level of salt reduction has your business achieved, e.g. the percentage reduction, and what are the current salt levels in your products and/or across your portfolio (where possible as a sales weighted average)?
  • What further salt reductions would you consider realistic?
  • Are there particular products within a category that can reduce salt further than other products?
  • Are there any technical issues you have experienced whilst reducing salt and are there any further technical issues that are foreseeable with continued salt reduction?

For the documents published under point 4 above, please note that there may be some additional, category specific questions included in the published document.

Any comments, information or data should be sent to the following email address – saltandfat@dh.gsi.gov.uk – by Friday 6 December. If you would like to respond but will not be able to meet this deadline please let us know as soon as possible. However, please bear in mind that it may not be possible to consider late responses in full.

Next steps for the overall review process

Once this second views seeking exercise is complete the final package, including the revised targets (where appropriate) and a new pledge, will be developed. This will include deciding which categories fall into the essential and business specific categories and reasonable timelines to review progress.

Consideration by the High Level Steering Group

Once finalised the full package will go to the High Level Steering Group of the Food Network (HLSG) for their consideration. The intention is for this to be completed in time for the December meeting. Actions beyond this will depend on the considerations of the HLSG.

 

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