F5. Salt Catering

The food service sector is complex and diverse.  To enable caterers and their suppliers to play a fuller part in salt reduction, we have developed three additional salt pledges to capture the potential for salt reduction arising from different business models. The pledges are intended to foster innovation and add new momentum to existing work.

The salt catering pledges, which focus on training and kitchen practice, reformulation and procurement, work in conjunction with each other and in support of the original salt pledge F2.  Collectively these salt pledges aim to reduce the average amount of salt eaten, to help lower people’s risk of high blood pressure and the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

We encourage businesses to sign up to those pledges which are relevant to their particular business model.

If a business has signed up to the original salt reduction pledge (F2) to meet the 2012 salt targets, it will in principle already be working to meet the requirements of the F5(c) procurement pledge so sign up to this is unnecessary.

We recognise that many businesses may have already implemented elements of the pledges since the launch of the Responsibility Deal. This would not preclude sign-up to the relevant pledges. However, businesses should make clear in their delivery plans which elements of the pledge reflect new work and which relate to activities already in place, plus any measures that will be put into action to ensure the activity is sustained.  Sign-up to the pledges should reflect an ongoing commitment to salt reduction going forward.

What these pledges set out to achieve and why it is important

In 2003, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that work be undertaken to reduce salt intakes in the UK in order to achieve an average intake of 6g per day for adults (SACN also set targets for children[1]).

Most of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy.  Food from caterers makes a significant contribution to our daily diets with an estimated 1 in 6 meals being eaten out of the home, which contributes to around a quarter of the calories we eat. It is also often saltier than similar foods sold at retail. Therefore, it is important that caterers and their suppliers play their role in helping consumer’s to reduce their salt intakes to meet the 6g a day population target.

Public health benefits

  • Reducing salt intake lowers blood pressure in just 4 weeks, which in turn reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
  • Reducing population salt intakes by just 1g will prevent 4,147 deaths and save the NHS £288 million every year.
  • Reformulation efforts so far have proven successful in helping to reduce the population’s intake by 15% since 2001/01 from 9.5g to 8.1g in 2011.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Salt catering pledges

Pledge wording and supporting information on how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver these pledges is available:

F5(a). Salt Catering: Training and Kitchen Practice
F5(b). Salt Catering: Reformulation of products as purchased by the customer
F5(c). Salt Catering: Procurement

[1] 0-6 months – less than 1g salt per day; 6-12 months – 1g per day; 1-3 years – 2g per day; 4-6 years – 3g per day; 7-10 years – 5g per day; 11 years and over – 6g per day.

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