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Reducing sodium and sugar in processed foods

Eating too much sodium (salt) or sugar increases our risk of heart disease - in New Zealand these mostly come from processed foods. We'd like to help food manufacturers change this.

low salt bread

Reformulating processed foods

Most of the salt and sugar we eat in New Zealand comes from processed foods. They're added to these foods for flavour, texture, preservation and other processing reasons, but often in amounts over what is required. So we work with food companies to set voluntary targets (PDF) to reduce the amount of sodium, and more recently sugar, in key food categories. 

The objective of the Heart Foundation food reformulation programme is to have at least 80% of the market share (by sales volume) to meet the targets. This ensures high-volume foods in each category are prioritised. As a result, over 300 tonnes of salt per annum have been removed from key categories. In addition to this work, many companies run their own internal reformulation programmes.

We target the following key food categories:

  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed meats
  • Savoury pies
  • Soups
  • Cheese
  • Potato, corn and extruded snacks
  • Cooking sauces
  • Powdered mealbases
  • Edible oil spreads
  • Savoury crackers
  • Tomato sauce
  • Baked beans
  • Canned spaghetti
  • Cereal and nut/seed bars
  • Dairy yoghurt and dairy foods
  • Flavoured dairy milk


Food Reformulation Programme (PDF)

Want to know more? Get in touch.