The government has said it wants the amount of salt we eat to be cut by a quarter, in a new drive announced today (12 March).

As part of the Responsibility Deal, the new Salt Strategy looks set to include the setting of new salt reduction targets for food companies.

The existing 2012 salt targets will be revised by the end of the year, in a bid to encourage companies to reformulate recipes.

The government said it would also be pushing the catering and takeaway sector to do more, by setting maximum targets for some of the most popular takeaway foods, such as sandwiches and chips.

The government said research showed more than half the public (53%) rarely or never considered the amount of salt in the food they buy, despite 86% knowing too much salt is bad for their health.

Anna Soubry, public health minister, said: “Through the Responsibility Deal, we are working with the food industry to make sure people are given healthier options with less salt in their favourite foods.

“The voluntary approach is working and we have already seen results in our everyday foods, but to get the greatest impact, we need more companies pledging to reduce salt levels, particularly in the catering and takeaway sector.”

Dr Susan Jebb, network chair, Responsibility Deal Food Network, added: “Today is the start of the next phase of the salt reduction work.

“This strategy combines work to develop new targets for reformulation, with action to urge more companies to play their full part and renewed efforts to encourage consumers to do more to reduce the salt we’re eating.”