Journal article

The healthy eating agenda in Australia. Is salt a priority for manufacturers?

Food industry and trade Public health Nutrition Australia
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Many nation states have endorsed and acted on the World Health Organization’s target of a 30% reduction in global salt consumption by 2025. In Australia, new government-led voluntary measures were initiated in 2009, consisting of public–private partnerships, front-of-pack labelling, and food reformulation targets (which include reduced salt). How Australia’s private sector has responded to this healthy eating agenda has been investigated in a limited way, particularly with regards to manufacturers which produce processed foods considered significant sources of sodium. In this study we asked: have Australia’s largest food manufacturers made “…positive (nutrition) changes to their product portfolios” as disclosed in their public policies, priorities, and communications? And, is salt reduction a priority for processed food manufacturers? A systematic search and critical content-analysis of grey literature published by food manufacturers was conducted. The results suggest half of the sample publically describe some salt reduction activities but the scale and efficacy of these changes is unclear from the available literature. The Australian Government’s Healthy Food Partnership could capitalise on current documented activities in salt reduction, and implement a more comprehensive healthy eating agenda moving forward. In light of the increasing rates of hypertension, population salt consumption and diet-related disease, more could be done.

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