FDF is committed to working with the Department of Health (DH) on product
reformulation and FDF members have been working towards the 2012 (and more
recently the 2017) Responsibility Deal (RD) salt targets. However, changes can only be made gradually to maintain consumer acceptability
and allow for the limits of technology and microbial safety. Reformulation of
products must be technically feasible and safe, and their taste must remain
acceptable to consumers.
Food manufacturers have invested heavily over many years to change the recipes
of some of Britain's biggest and best-loved brands so they are lower in salt –
without making any compromises on taste, quality or safety. By deploying its
research capabilities in this way, the UK is now widely acknowledged to be
the world on salt reformulation. As well as these efforts, companies also
a wide range of low-salt alternatives. Much of the salt reduction has been
forward in key sectors such as bread, biscuits and cakes, breakfast cereals,
soups & sauces, crisps and savoury snacks.
DH is working with manufacturers, retailers and caterers to secure voluntary
reductions in salt, and is striving to reduce the average population salt
The Public Health Responsibility Deal, published on 15 March 2011, contains several pledges committing companies to
the RD salt targets, including the new F9 and F10 pledges launched this year.
Many FDF members have signed up to the salt pledges relevant to their current
situation, which includes several companies committing to new 2017 salt pledges
a view of bringing salt intakes down to no more than 6g of salt per person per
History of salt target development under the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
In March 2006, FSA published voluntary salt reduction targets to encourage a
reduction in the amount of salt in a wide range of processed
foods by 2010.
FSA later reviewed these targets using data purchased from
Kantar, self-reported data from industry, independent expertise and information
gathered via its processed food databank. The FSA 2010 targets were revised and
2012 targets were published in May 2009.
NB: The 2012 Responsibility Deal salt targets are the same as those
published by FSA with the exception of revised targets for breakfast cereals.
During development of the targets, some sectors argued that they did not make a
significant contribution to sodium intake. However, FSA stressed that a little
action across all categories would add up to significant changes in the diet,
that there are many categories which only contribute a small percentage to salt
Tracking population sodium / salt consumption
Analysis of urinary sodium over a 24-hour period is thought to be the most
accurate method of estimating salt intake.
In June 2012, DH published the results of its latest urinary sodium analysis
which indicated that the downward trend in average salt intakes amongst adults
England is continuing. Average intakes were 8.1g per day in 2011, which was a
decrease of 0.5g/day since the last survey in 2008 and a reduction of 1.4g
since the first analysis in 2000/2001. DH has indicated that another urinary
survey of adults will be carried out in 2014 and will be reported in spring
In addition, the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) released
by Public Health England (PHE) in May 2014 included estimated salt intakes from
urinary sodium for children and older adults, for the first time. It showed
children’s salt intakes exceeded SACN recommendations for each age group
the 7-10yrs girl subgroup). For more details you can read the report here.
Last reviewed: 17 Dec 2016