The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF)and British Retail Consortium (BRC) have partnered with Leatherhead Food Research to fund and deliver a comprehensive report on salt reduction methods in food production.
UK food manufacturers and retailers already lead the rest of the world in reducing salt levels in food.
This research project, which will begin this month, will take stock of industry's reformulation achievements to date and help industry take its next steps.
FDF and BRC's partnership with Leatherhead Food Research, coupled with the institution's decision to co-fund the research, demonstrate a food chain-wide commitment to increase consumer choice and maximize its use of reformulation as a tool to improve public health, where possible.
The report, to be launched in mid-2012, will be a free resource and its findings are expected to support food manufacturers world-wide.
Terry Jones, Food and Drink Federation Communications Director, said: "While food manufacturers have already invested heavily and made great strides in salt reformulation, this partnership demonstrates our industry's keenness to find solutions to continue this good work.
"Leatherhead Food Research's salt reduction expertise made them the natural choice to work with on this project. We are pleased by their enthusiasm for the project and its objectives as shown by their decision to co-fund."
British Retail Consortium Food Director, Andrew Opie, said: "Our members have shown their commitment to give consumers healthier choices by consistently meeting salt targets.
"They are backing this up with funding for credible, independent research which will make a valuable contribution to our understanding of where further salt reduction is practicable."
Dr Paul Berryman, CEO of Leatherhead Food Research, said:
"We are delighted to be working with the FDF and BRC on this project. It is so important that we decided to co-fund the research.
"Salt reduction sounds easy, but it isn't. We are particularly worried about the effects on food safety and shelf life. Salt is a traditional preservative, so we will be checking for unintended consequences, like unwanted bacterial growth. Consumers must be happy with the taste too, or they will just add in table salt. It's a complex issue."
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