A money-saving scheme to help independent sandwich shops increase their profits by offering customers healthier choices could get a national roll-out after one shop saved £400 in a month.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) pilot project has been trialled in towns in the south west, as part of its national drive to improve healthy eating, and could launch elsewhere, after shops made big cost-savings.

Working with environmental health and trading standards officers, the pilot offered practical approaches to reducing salt and saturated fat, such as not putting salt cellars on tables, not using butter with wet sandwich fillings and reducing the slices of ham in a sandwich.

FSA regional co-ordinator for the south west and West Midlands Nick Mann said the voluntary scheme had proved successful, with one sandwich shop owner in Bristol saving £400 in a month without seeing a fall-off in sales. He said: "The owner went from using a litre of butter a week to a litre over four weeks, and cut back her mayonnaise order from 30 litres to 10 litres a week."

A Department of Health (DoH)-funded initiative to give her customers a free piece of fruit with their sandwich proved so popular that the owner decided to continue it as a loss-leader.

Mann said that while the pilot’s results would be available at the end of the month, its future depended on upcoming changes to the FSA when the DoH takes over its nutritional work.

>>Changes at FSA unlikely to have adverse impact