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Swiss manufacturer Nestlé’s move to cut the salt content of its Shreddies cereal brands by 15% is the latest example of a wider trend in the UK cereal sector, which has seen an array of manufacturers reduce the salt content of their cereals. 
The changed product, available in March, will contain 0.5g of salt or 9% of an adult’s guideline daily amount. A salt reformulation programme in the UK has resulted in Nestlé using 13.6% less salt in its UK products in 2007 than in 2005, it said.

Nestlé’s announcement comes as UK consumer group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) releases research to coincide with Salt Awareness Week (Jan 29th – Feb 4th). CASH has found that many foods now have significantly less salt added than a few years ago, with lower salt alternatives available for nearly all categories of foods.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH, said: “Most cornflakes in the UK now have around two thirds the amount of salt they contained in 2004, (a 30% reduction) and Quaker Oats have reformulated their Oat Krunchies into Oat Crisp with only a quarter of their previous salt content. However, some products still contain very high levels of salt. 

“For instance we recently found a Sainsbury’s product – Oat and Bran Flakes – with 2.4g of salt per 100g. As a comparison, Atlantic seawater contains 2.5g of salt per 100g. With so many alternative cereals available with far lower salt contents, we want people to stop buying high salt products like this.”

In a survey, CASH looked at 127 products to see how their salt contents have changed, and outlined alternatives in a release.

The group said that two thirds of the foods had reduced their salt concentration, and congratulated Walkers, Birds Eye, New Covent Garden Soups, Heinz for reducing the amount of salt they add to their foods in the UK.