Blog: Burts rewarded for no-salt initiative

Catherine Sleep | 23 February 2006

Devon crisp maker Burts Potato Chips has won the 2006 Food & Drink Expo Ideas to Dine For! for its No Salt Chips. While the product doubtless gets extra points with consumers for giving 5% of profits generated by said crisps to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the award was judged by industry experts including chefs and food writers. In other words, the product could not have won for its ethical credentials alone; it must taste good.

This is a real challenge for an unsalted crisp, especially when industry commentators like restaurant critic Jay Rayner are coming out with gems such as, and I quote, “Anyone who doesn't want salt on their crisps is no friend of mine”.

There clearly is a market for unsalted crisps, even if some people find it hard to imagine. There are a couple of tricks that can help a reduction in salt intake seem palatable. Use flavour by adding other ingredients (I have to admit I didn’t notice the absence of salt in Burts’ flavoured varieties half as much as I did when sampling the plain variety) or try to imagine you’re not eating a crisp-without-salt, but instead a new food. I cut out sugar in my coffee as a young teen using this method. I told myself I wasn’t drinking coffee without sugar, but a quite different drink which was also nice. Mindgames can work: I never drank coffee with sugar again.

Where kids are involved, another tactic could be to allow them a salted variety once a week OR a no-salt variety twice, and let them choose. There are ways of shaping a child’s palate and food choices for the better, and it is nice to see Burts rewarded for taking on the challenge of producing a healthier version of a treat product that kids pester their parents for.

Burts


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