Salt reduction

reduce sodium

Salt reduction

What is the issue?

Salt is an important and useful food ingredient. However, too much salt (sodium) in our diets increases the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.

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Why is it important?

Many of our food products use salt, either as a seasoning ingredient to add flavour or to improve preservation and texture. We recognise we have a responsibility to contribute to public health by reducing the level of salt in our products.

 

  • In progress
  • By 2016 – (globally) Further reduce salt content by 10% in products that do not meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation (NF) criteria, ensuring gradual salt reduction even in more challenging areas of our product portfolio.
  • By the end of 2015, we achieved an overall sodium reduction of 880 tonnes, or 8% towards our objective of a 10% reduction.
  • By 2017 – Meet the 2017 UK Public Health Responsibility Deal salt targets.
Society

Decreasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

Business

Building a trusted brand and demonstrating our commitment to improving public health.

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What are we doing about it?

In 2003, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that the average intake of salt for adults should be 6g per day. To help consumers meet this goal, the UK government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal sets out a series of salt reduction targets for specific food groups that contribute most to people’s salt intakes.

We are committed to supporting these public health goals by reducing the amount of sodium in our foods and beverages to provide healthier choices while retaining the same great taste. We achieve this through product reformulations and replacing sodium with other healthier minerals.

Since Nestlé introduced its global sodium (salt) policy (pdf, 1Mb) in 2005, we have reduced salt levels in many products across our portfolio. In 2014, we updated our policy to support the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s new salt target of no more than 5g of salt per person per day by 2025.

Reducing salt involves technical challenges, particularly as salt is important for food preservation and texture. We are working on reformulation and product innovations across our portfolio to address these challenges.

Our commitment to support the WHO target will further reduce salt levels across Nestlé’s hundreds of savoury products globally. These include soups, noodles, recipe mixes, frozen and chilled meals and pizzas, in popular brands including Maggi, Stouffer’s, DiGiorno and Buitoni.

The UK Public Health Responsibility Deal

In the UK, we have signed up to the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, through which partner businesses make a series of pledges to help improve public health. The deal includes a new salt reduction pledge to support the UK’s public health goal of consuming no more than 6g of salt per person per day. This replaces the 2012 salt reduction pledge that we had previously signed up to.

Food companies signing up to the pledge commit to achieving a series of targets for reducing salt levels across 76 food categories by December 2017. We have products in 14 of those categories and, of these, seven already meet the 2017 targets. Work is currently ongoing to meet the targets in the other categories.

4.3 tonnes

In 2014 we reformulated our Maggi 3 minute Noodles and removed around 4.3 tonnes of salt (1).

Reducing salt intakes

Reducing population salt intakes by just 1g could prevent 4,147 premature deaths and save the NHS £288 million each year.

Reducing salt content in cereals

Under the Responsibility Deal’s Salt Reduction targets for 2017, we pledged that we would meet the 2017 targets so that at least 95% of all our cereals will contain less than 400mg sodium per 100g, and that our sales weighted average sodium content will be less than 235mg per 100g by the end of 2017. Currently only two of our cereal products do not meet this target and salt reduction work is continuing on other brands to bring down our sales weighted average in time.

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What’s next?

Nestlé UK will continue to work towards meeting the 2017 salt reduction targets. This will involve adapting our reformulation approach to meet the specific needs of different products. We will also continue to inform consumers about the salt content in our food through clear labelling, as well as giving guidance on how to meet recommended salt intake guidelines.

The Nestlé Global Salt Reduction Policy will continue with the work to ensure that all products that do not meet the NNPS targets for salt will be reduced on average by 10% by the end of 2016.

Footnotes

1. Changes made to Maggi 3 Minute Noodles Chicken, Mushroom and Beef and Tomato Varieties. Beef and Tomato relaunched as BBQ Beef. Calculated using nutrient changes as a result of 2015 reformulation and 2014 sales data. The reductions are not cumulative.