For many years, plant bakers have undertaken a process of salt reduction. We have long recognised the importance of responding to consumer needs.
While the media are keen to portray the food industry as villains, risking the nation’s health by filling their products with salt, the plant baking sector is a clear example that there are always two sides to every story.
In 2005, the Federation of Bakers (FoB) entered into discussions with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to establish what was an acceptable target for salt reduction by 2010. These discussions resulted in an agreed target of 0.43g sodium (a sales-weighted average per 100g) by 2010. Over several years prior to this, there had already been significant reductions in the salt content of bread, including a 10% reduction in the two years to the end of 2005. Further reductions are being made to meet the forthcoming 2010 target.
The FoB will continue to work with the FSA to monitor progress towards this target - in particular the review in 2008. At present, the FoB annually submits details of salt reduction in members’ bread to ensure the FSA is kept abreast of progress.
We must not lose sight of the role bread plays in a healthy diet and the role salt plays in baking. Our challenge, as an industry, is to deliver a range of products, which have the same healthy attributes and widespread appeal, but with lower salt. Achieving this salt reduction target is a challenge, requiring a thoughtful, considered approach.