New trade group focuses on salt reduction

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Salt Salt reduction Saturated fat Sodium Fat

The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is focusing on achieving
salt and sodium reduction and cutting saturated fats in the bakery
and snacks sector with the formation of a new group.

The Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery (BCCC) group was set up this year to deal with the issues facing the sector. It replaces the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Association (BCCCA), which ran until the end of 2007. Christine Welberry, spokesperson for the FDF, told that the main challenges facing the sector in 2008 will be continuing the efforts so far in working with the industry to cut salt and sodium content. The body said reformulation within the industry meant UK salt consumption last year dropped by almost 2,000 tonnes in five food categories, according to research carried out by TNS Worldpanel. While savoury snacks such as crisps experienced the largest salt reduction, the breakfast cereals sector decreased salt content by 238 tonnes. The same decrease applied to bread, a category where salt reduction started in the 1980s. Since 2004, the formulations used for at least £15bn (€20bn) worth of foods have less fat, sugar and salt. European companies such as Jungbunzlauer and Leatherhead and dedicated resources to developing ways to cut salt from bakery products. However, the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said work still needs to be done as consumers are unaware of the high salt content on some sweet products such as popcorn and cereals. The industry has also removed almost 30,000 tonnes of saturated fat from products since 2005 as part of ongoing efforts to reformulate according to the FDF. A diet high in saturated fat has been repeatedly linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Meanwhile, numerous scientists are convinced that high salt intake is responsible for increasing blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) - a disease that causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe. Barbara Gallani, former food policy executive at the British Retail Consortium, will assume responsibility for working with members to direct and develop policies that reflect the issues faced by the sector. She said: "We will be focusing on the trade, technical and regulatory aspects of BCCCA's work and will give members the benefits of greater synergy with FDF's programmes and more seamless access to its expertise." ​ Melanie Leech, FDF director general, said: "Under her direction this new group will allow FDF to speak with even greater authority on topics at the heart of this important sector."

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