Celebrating ten years of salt reduction

This year is an important milestone for the Heart Foundation. Ten years ago, we began working with food companies to reduce the amount of sodium in bread.

Reducing in salt in food for ten years

To do this, we worked with the food industry to set food reduction targets for sodium in bread. We ran a pilot in 2007 with major companies, and it was a big success. The amount of salt in some bread was reduced by 18%, resulting in 150 tonnes of salt removed in just one year.

Why is salt bad for you?

Salt is made from sodium and chloride. The sodium in salt is the part that’s bad for you.

Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, and this is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Reducing salt in Kiwi food

After the success in the bread category we branched out and our salt reduction programme was extended to 14 food categories. These include soups, baked beans, cheese and cooking sauces.

Ten years on and what does this mean for salt in New Zealand food? Sodium levels in bread are 25% lower. Certain children’s breakfast cereals are 33% lower, and some processed meats are around 20% lower.

We’ve also made progress in reducing salt in savoury pies, soups and crackers.

Since 2007, more than 265 tonnes of salt per year has been removed from certain food products in New Zealand. That’s a lot less salt in common everyday foods.

How can I reduce my salt intake?

If you’re concerned about the amount of salt in your food, here are some ways to reduce it:

  • Eat less processed foods
  • Read food labels and look for lower sodium levels
  • Use less salt while cooking – your taste buds will adjust

We also have a range of healthy recipes that can help you maintain a diet that’s good for your heart.