The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said that research shows an upsurge in consumers making an effort to cut down on how much salt they eat and changing their shopping behaviour.

The FSA launched its Sid the Slug salt campaign in September 2004, aimed at encouraging people to reduce the amount of salt in their diet. The agency said its research is now showing a steady increase in the number of people recognising that they might have a problem with too much salt in their diet and are now trying to cut down.

The research suggested that between August 2004 and January 2005 there has been a 32% increase in people claiming to be making a special effort to cut down on salt, a 31% increase in those who look at labelling to find out salt content, and a 27% increase in those who say that salt content would affect their decision to buy a product 'all of the time'.

"Consumers appear to be taking food and health messages on board. Our research shows that just four months after we launched our salt reduction campaign, more people are looking at labels for information on salt and more people are choosing to buy products with less salt in them," said FSA director of consumer choice and dietary health, Gill Fine.

The FSA said it was pleased with the response from food companies that are reducing salt in products and labelling salt as well as sodium.

"These steps help consumers who want to improve their health. However, there is still a lot more to be done before we hit the target of no more than 6g of salt each day for an adult by 2010," Fine said.