Since the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) salt reduction campaign began in 2004, the Federation of Bakers (FoB) has worked closely with the FSA to ensure all of its targets have been met across all bread. Since then, salt in bread has been reduced by more than 30%, with 180 tonnes removed in branded bread alone, ensuring the industry is on track to achieve the 2010 targets. The FoB’s members are pleased to help consumers make healthier choices, while ensuring they continue to produce products of the highest quality.
Against this positive background, the FSA launched its latest high-profile advertising campaign on salt reduction, which clearly establishes bread as a villain that consumers should be wary of. As such, the FoB believed it necessary to withdraw support from the FSA salt campaign as we felt the sensationalist advertising was unfair and unhelpful. Placing a disproportionate amount of blame on very few food products does not help consumers make an informed choice and does not recognise the efforts made by the bread industry towards reducing salt.
Bread will always be a main contributor of salt to the diet, purely because it is a daily staple. That does not mean bread is the food with the highest salt content and consumers must not be left with the over-simplified impression that it’s an unhealthy food and best avoided.
We firmly oppose the current consumer awareness campaign. The FSA must work collaboratively with the industry and we need to work out how we can do this so both parties are happy. The end result must be a product that consumers will enjoy and repeatedly buy, which is also as low in salt as it can possibly be a fine balancing act but one which we feel is not impossible to achieve.