Nine steps for reducing salt in Australia’s food supply

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th July 2019

Australia has committed to the World Health Organisation’s target of a 30% reduction in the average population salt intake by 2025.

Learn the nine steps for reducing salt in Australia’s processed and packaged foods in a webinar with leading reformulation expert and registered nutritionist, Vanessa Clarkson, hosted by the Heart Foundation and VicHealth.

The Reformulation Readiness webinar on Friday 26 July at 12.30pm (AEST) provides a roadmap to help Australian food manufacturers implement a best-practice salt reduction program. Participants can sign up now for the free webinar and will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Following the launch of Australia’s first salt reformulation guide in May, Reformulation Readiness guide author and webinar speaker, Vanessa Clarkson, will talk with Heart Foundation salt reduction food industry liaison, Elizabeth Joldeski, about:

•             Determining nutritional composition and setting of targets

•             Consumer communication considerations

•             Best approaches to salt reduction

•             Sensory testing and shelf-life testing

“Australians are consuming more than double the recommended amount of salt, with high intakes linked to a number of adverse health effects,” Ms Clarkson said.

“Food businesses have a responsibility to ensure they carefully consider the ingredient composition of their products. Increasingly, this is expected of them by consumers, as demand grows for healthier foods.

“When salt reduction is done in a stepwise fashion, consumer palates can adapt. And looking at work done overseas, as well as closer to home, we know it’s possible to make some significant reductions to salt levels without compromising on product quality. Reformulation is one tool among many that we have to improve diets for better health.”

Heart Foundation CEO Victoria, Kellie-Ann Jolly, said the online reformulation guide and upcoming webinar are just some of the resources developed through the unpackthesalt campaign to support food manufacturers on their reformulation journey.

“We want to encourage manufacturers to reduce salt in their processed and packaged foods for the benefit of their consumers’ health. Excess salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

“Through our unpackthesalt website, manufacturers can find a range of resources including best-practice reformulation case studies from major food manufacturers like Barilla, Woolworths and Unilever.

“In addition, we provide benchmarking food category reports, information on grants and other useful tools to assist manufacturers,” Ms Jolly said.

VicHealth Acting CEO, Dr Lyn Roberts AO, said while food manufacturers were making some progress, now is the time for other manufacturers to join the salt reformulation journey.

“We’ve seen voluntary salt targets achieve success in the UK with a 15 per cent reduction in the average population salt intake across a decade. Estimates suggest this has prevented more than 9,000 premature deaths a year,” Dr Roberts said.

“In Australia, through the Healthy Food Partnership (HFP), substantial work has already been done towards establishing draft salt targets. We urge the Federal government, together with the HFP, to move towards consensus and implement voluntary salt targets now.”

WHO and the Heart Foundation of Australia recommend adults consume less than a teaspoon of salt daily (5 g per day). Currently, Australians are consuming nearly double that amount (9.6 g per day).

About the Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership

The Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership was established in 2014 in response to alarming high levels of salt consumption by the Victorian public. The partnership comprises peak public health organisations: VicHealth, Heart Foundation, The George Institute for Global Health, Deakin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), National Stroke Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, The Victorian Department for Health and Human Services, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Food Innovation Australia Ltd, CSIRO and the High Blood Pressure Research Council. Australia is committed to meeting the World Health Organization’s target of 30 percent reduction in average population salt intake by 2025. To achieve this, the partnership has developed a comprehensive set of actions aimed at gaining consensus and commitment for salt reduction action from governments, public and industry in Victoria.

Reformulation Readiness: Webinar

Date: Friday 26 July 2019
Time: 12.30pm – 1.30pm AEST
Register online now for the webinar.