|Friday, 15 July, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]|
|Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi|
Of these 18 main food groups, 9 (in bold) were identified as likely significant contributors to salt in the Indian diet.iiThe 9 main food groups were then sub-categorised into specific food groups according to the food composition database criteria5.For each food product, the brand name, product name, serving size, presence of nutritional information and sodium content per 100g was recorded.
The proportion of products with nutrition information and the proportion of products displaying sodium information was calculated overall for each main food group, and each specific food category. In addition, for products with sodium data reported mean levels and ranges of sodium (mg/100g) were calculated for each main food group and specific food category.
Levels of salt in specific food categories were compared against the UK 2017 salt targets which provide salt targets for 76 categories of food. The proportions of Indian products known to meet the UK 2017 salt targets (i.e. reporting salt content data and having a salt content less than the target) were derived for each specific food category.
There were5796 products in the 18 main food groups. Seventy-six percent of these products had a nutrition information panel (NIP), and thirty-five percent had information about the salt content reported as sodium per 100g (Table 1). Note – Salt in foods is usually reported as sodium. To convert the sodium content to the salt content it is necessary to multiply by 2.5 –for example 100mg/100g sodium = 250mg/100g salt.
There were 4218 products in the 9 main food groups identified as major contributors to sodium in the diet. 1539 (27%) of these products had information about salt content reported on the label (Table 2).
Mean sodium content
There was a wide range of sodium content both between and within the 9 main food groups studied. The food group with the highest mean sodium content was sauces and spreads,2213mg/100g(range 0.0 to 21218 mg/100g)compared to the lowest mean sodium content found in meat and meat products 413mg/100g, (range 2.0-1000 mg/100g).
Within sauces and spreads the highest mean sodium content were found in: meal based sauces 5601mg/100g (range 179–21218mg/100g); pickles 4487mg/100g, (range 1600-5433) and Asian sauces 3190mg/100g (range 270-8400)
Products meeting UK 2017 salt targets
Overall 21% of products were known to meet the UK 2017 sodium targets with greatest compliance among hard cheeses (60%), pasta (56%), and canned soup (47%). Only 2 bread products were known to meet the target (Table 2).
Specific examples below to be used in media statement – once products are checked in store:
Papads are a commonly consumed meal accompaniment in India, and so are eaten as part of a meal, and often with every meal. The excessive amount of salt in some papads may contribute huge amounts of salt to the diet of some Indians. The variation in salt content between one papad product and another demonstrates that such high levels of salt are not required in the manufacturing of papads, and there is likely huge potential for reformulation of these products to much lower salt levels.
This illustrates that products can be made with far less salt, and food companies should work to reduce the amount of sodium added to processed foods to their lowest possible level, gradually so that consumers don’t notice the difference.
This illustrates that Kelloggs is able to make the same product with far less salt, and should do so across all markets in which it sells its products to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefit of eating less salt (sugar, and fat).
Table 1 shows the proportionsof food products carrying nutrition Information and the proportion of products carrying information about salt levels
Table 3: Comparable products with highest and lowest salt content
Figure 1: Data analysis