A survey conducted last year by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has highlighted the slow shift on the part of food companies to reducing the salt in their food products, which was reported by the Food Safety Authority (FSA) yesterday.

The survey found that less than half of FDF’s member associations represent companies that use salt in their products. Of those using salt however, 5% offered “reduced sodium” products; 4.5% offered “low salt” products; and the majority, 22%, had already altered recipes to reduce their salt content.

“We all need some salt in our diets, salt is essential for life,” said the FDF in a press release: “However, there has been a great deal of controversy over salt – with scientists trying to establish what amount people should eat.  Clearly, as with all things we eat, moderation is the key.  

”Any added salt is always shown on the ingredient list and the vast majority of manufacturers also voluntarily include full nutrition labelling which, by law, must include the sodium content of a product.”

The FDF revealed that the shift was largely a result of companies responded to consumer demand, as “anyone who wasn’t would go out of business pretty quickly”.

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“Over the last few years,” it continued, “quite a number of manufacturers – and in some instances entire sectors – have looked at reducing the amount of salt in their products in accordance with consumers’ wishes. 

“Some have done so successfully – the bread sector in particular as the FSA’s report highlights  – others have found that the nature of the product has made this impossible because to do so would compromise texture, stability and even food safety: in these cases salt was simply at the lowest level it could go.  

Interestingly, however, many manufacturers told the FDF that consumers were extremely sensitive to salt reductions, and that lower salt versions of products were not always well received.

To visit the Food and Drink Federation#;s website, click here