The Department of Health (DoH) has unveiled its long-awaited salt reduction targets for 2017 which have been labelled as “very challenging” by the industry.

The DoH has set new targets for a total of 76 saltier food groups, including breads, cakes, processed puddings and quiches and meat products. The new stricter targets include a 10% reduction to an average 0.9g salt per 100g in bread and rolls by 2017, down from the previous target of 1g per 100g for 2012.

But powder raised morning goods will see salt targets increased to 1.13g salt on average, where the target had been an average 0.75g salt per 100g.

Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson told British Baker that the industry had met previous industry salt reduction targets for 2012, but would face technical difficulties with further reductions calling the targets “challenging”.

He said: “There is a role for salt as an ingredient in bakery, as plant bakers face difficulties with sticky low salt doughs.”

However he added:  “We are grateful that the Department of Health has now recognised the difference between yeast raised and powder raised doughs and we await for further developments in potassium based salt replacers.”

Meanwhile, Katharine Jenner, campaign director of Consensus Action on Salt and Health told British Baker that CASH welcomes the new targets. “These targets are four years late, but we think a 10% reduction is a good reflection of where the bakery sector needs to be. It would reduce the average person’s intake by about a gram a day. We hope some companies will go further.” 

The new targets include salt targets on cakes such as sponge cakes are down from 0.5g to 0.43g of salt per 100g by 2017. Pastries are down from 0.5g to 0.35g per 100g.

Sweet pies and other choux or shortcrust pastry desserts are down from 0.33 to 0.25g per 100g by 2017.

The targets for sandwiches are also lowered, from 1g to 0.9g for sandwiches with high salt fillings and 0.75 to 0.68 for sandwiches without high salt fillings. Sweet biscuits are down from 0.68 to 0.55g per 100g and all savoury biscuits now have a 1.3g per 100g target.

The DoH has also issued a set of Out of Home Salt Reduction targets for the foodservice industry, covering categories from chips to pizza.

Reducing salt consumption is an important factor in helping to tackle avoidable premature mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke, it says.

A DoH spokesperson said: “The World Health Organisation has said our salt reduction work is world leading and we now want to go further to help prevent premature mortality from heart disease and are calling on the industry to sign up and support us.”

Enjoyed this article? Get more stories like this direct to your mailbox with our FREE email newsletter. Click here to sign-up today!