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This week is the 17th Annual Salt Awareness Week organised by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).  Since CASH first started Salt Awareness Week 17 there has been significant progress in salt reduction in food and in the diet of the UK population.  That’s a good result from a health perspective as too much salt can increase risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, but the majority of us still eat more than the recommended 6g per day.

At M&S we started our salt reduction programme in 1998 by looking into bread recipes, at a time when the health issues of too much salt in the diet were just starting to be highlighted.  From that point on we have continued to have an active salt reduction programme across all our food, alongside reviewing the saturated fat, added sugar and calorie content where we can as part of the product development process. 

We will only reduce salt or continue to reduce it in products where there is no compromise in quality or safety of the product, as our food must meet the high standards our customers expect from us.

We have made good progress on the 2017 targets; we meet 35 out of the 65 categories including areas that are highlighted as contributing most salt in the diet e.g. bread, sandwiches, bacon and are making good progress in the majority of other areas, as you will see from the below progress report.  There are challenges however in meeting some of the 2017 targets - some of which are for food safety reasons e.g. ham and cured meat, uncured meat, cured meat topped pizzas, uncured meat and some for quality reasons e.g.  pies, sausage rolls and premium burgers, but we will continue to review salt and make progress where we can.

In the past there has been some criticism about “hidden” salt in foods.  We provide clear, colour-coded front of pack nutrition labelling on our products to help our customers put the salt content of a specific food into the context of the recommended daily intake of 6g per day. 

We’d also like to see a change in how progress is reported; in some product areas e.g. crisps we believe that per 100g targets are not necessarily the right way to report the nutrition content of food.  We know that this approach allows comparatives from a nutrition science perspective but consumers do not eat food in 100g portions.  As the broader Department of Health and Public Health England Obesity Strategy will look at portion sizes, we need to ensure that this is captured in nutrition data and reformulation achievements.

The real challenge for us all is instead of focusing on individual nutrients, how do we get more people eating a healthy balanced diet?  There is no simple answer to this and it needs to be delivered through collaborations academics, industry and Governments.

M&S Salt Data by Category Report: March 2017

 
PRODUCT CATEGORY
 
 
SUB CATEGORY
 
 
SALT TARGET
 
% OF PRODUCTS MEETING TARGET
Bacon
 
2.88g ave
100%
Biscuits
Sweet
0.95g max
95%
 
Savoury
1.75g max
70%
Baked Beans
 
0.56g max
0%
Bread
Plain
1.13g max
98%
 
With additions
1.13g max
67%
Breakfast Cereals
 
 
100%
Burger
All
0.88g max
90%
Butter
Salted butters
1.68g max
86%
 
Lightly salted butters
1.13g max
66%
 
Spreads
1.38g max
0%
Cake
All
0.7g max
96%
Canned Fish
Tuna
0.9g ave
95%
 
Salmon
0.8g ave
0%
 
Other
1.5g max
100%
Canned Vegetables
 
0.13g max
50%
Cheese
Hard pressed
2g max
99%
 
Soft white
0.68g max
83%
 
Cottage Cheese all
0.53g max
100%
 
Mozzarella
1.35g max
100%
 
Blue Cheese
2.0g max
95%
 
Cheese Spreads
1.8g max
50%
 
Processed Cheese Other
2.0g max
96%
Crisps & Snacks
Potato Crisps
1.45g max
91%
 
Extruded
2g max
98%
 
Pelleted
2.88g max
95%
 
Salt & Vinegar
2.g max
67%
Desserts
Dessert Mixes
0.45g max
71%
 
Cheesecakes
0.45g max
81%
 
Sponge based
0.63g max
95%
 
Other
0.28g max
85%
Fruit Sweet Pies
All
0.33g max
89%
Gravy and Stocks
Gravy
1.13g max
100%
 
Stock
0.85g max
100%
Ham & Cured Meat
 
1.63g max
40%
Meals
Meals and meal centres
0.85g max
82%
Meat Pies
Deli pies and sausage rolls
1.13g max
76%
 
Other meat pies
0.75g max
68%
 
Cornish Pasties
1.0g max
100%
Morning Goods
Powder Raised
1.25g max
95%
 
Yeast Raised
0.88g max
67%
Other Cereals
 
0.63g max
93%
Pasta
 
0.88g max
100%
Pastries
 
0.45g max
60%
Pizza
All
1.25g max
90%
Quiche
All
0.68g max
95%
Rice
Flavoured
0.58g max
100%
 
Unflavoured
0.18g max
100%
Sandwiches
With high salt ingredients
1.5g max
95%
 
Without high salt ingredients
0.88g max
96%
Sauces
Ketchup
1.7g max
100%
 
Salad Cream
1.58g max
100%
 
Mayo
1.25g max
82%
 
Salad dressings
1.5g max
95%
 
Stir In Pasta Sauces
0.93g max
89%
 
Thick Sauces
1.63g max
95%
 
Pastes
3.75g max
95%
Sausages
Sausages
1.38g max
95%
 
Stuffings and sausage meat
1.7g max
100%
Scotch Eggs
All
0.78g max
34%
Soup
All
0.63g max
95%
Uncured Meat
 
0.68g max
40%
Vegetables
Processed potatoes
0.69g max
97%
Dried Beverages
 
0.15g max
100%