Blog: Dean BestSalt remains high on agenda

Dean Best | 5 October 2009

Salt is again at the top of the UK food industry's menu today (5 October) as the country's food watchdog launches its latest bid to make us all aware of the salt we consume.

The Food Standards Agency is repeating its calls for shoppers to take control of the salt
in their diet, which is linked to the UK's biggest killer - heart disease.

The FSA has again urged the UK food industry to do more in reducing the levels of salt in the foods they sell. Manufacturers justly point out that they have worked hard to cut salt levels but it is clear that more needs to be done.

Take the free-from aisle. Even in foods marketed as being able to help shoppers battle certain ailments, the levels of salt can be eye-wateringly high.

The industry has made strides in slashing salt levels but when the UK wakes up to hear that the level of salt in a bowl of its favourite cereals remains high, it is likely to choke on its breakfast.

On the continent, EFSA, Europe's food watchdog, revealed last week that many of the food makers keen to promote their products as beneficial to health have so far failed to put forward a convincing scientific arguments for their claims.

Even in recession, demand for healthy products has stayed strong. The resilience of the category means health will become an even more crucial - and lucrative battleground - for Europe's food companies operating in what are generally stagnant markets across the continent.

Alongside health, sustainability remains a key issue for food manufacturers and retailers of all colours. Last week, we launched Sustainability Watch, a series of monthly interviews with industry, government and NGO stakeholders rooted in that field.

We spoke to Richard Doyle, president of the International Dairy Federation, about that sector's plans to reduce its impact on the environment. The issue of dairy and sustainability has often been, erm, clouded by the methane emitted by cows but, as our chat with Doyle demonstrated, the dairy sector's plans are anything but hot air.


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