New salt pledge

A new salt pledge with a deadline to achieve targets for reducing consumption by December 2017 has been developed with a limited number of product categories and targets on the basis of feedback received. The aim is to offer the right balance between challenging industry to do more while recognising the difficulties faced in further reducing the salt content of some food categories.

When a business signs up to the new pledge, it will do so on the understanding that it is agreeing to work towards all relevant categories in its portfolio. In addition, there will be no separate new product maximum targets.

 Flexibility has been introduced to the pledge in terms of what constitutes “achievement” and would be needed to:

  1. ensure that a business has come close to achieving the targets in full
  2. recognise the significant effort and progress that companies have made
  3. remove the disincentive of signing up to the current pass/fail system.

It is proposed that a business can say it meets the target for an individual sub category if 95% of its products meet the targets and if efforts have been made to reduce salt in the remaining 5% of products to a minimum.

It is proposed that there should be one set of targets to ensure a level playing field i.e. that industry works solely towards the 2017 targets, rather than keeping the 2012 pledge active. However, some companies who signed to the 2012 targets are still working towards them, and for companies new to this work the new targets may seem challenging: therefore it is proposed to encourage companies to report on incremental progress towards the 2017 targets in their annual returns to enable them to celebrate progress in a transparent way.

It has been decided to invite companies to sign up to the 2017 targets afresh to give a clearer starting point for new action on salt reduction.

The use of potassium based salt replacers has been referred to the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition (SACN) whose expert advice is awaited.

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