Unilever has developed more salt-reduced products for its UK noodle range without affecting taste, the company announced today.
The range of products within the Pot Noodle brand will now contain 50 per cent less salt than in 2005, continuing the company's programme to reduce salt levels in all its products.
Earlier this year, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) encouraged food manufacturers and retailers to reduce the amount of salt in foods. The regulator also encouraged consumers to examine their salt intake.
The food industry has been moving to voluntary cut salt levels in a bid to stave off regulation setting maximum limits.
Evidence linking high salt consumption and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke has prompted higher awareness for consumer salt consumption.
"For the past three years, the agency has been working with industry to encourage reductions in the levels of salt in a range of foods," Bradley Smyth from the FSA told BakeryandSnacks.com earlier this month.
However, this comes the same month as a report from UK regulators that says more action needs to be taken for salt reduction targets to be met by 2010.
The UK guideline for salt consumption has been set at 6g of salt per day, although the report from the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulators Services (LACORS) last week said consumers are unaware of 'hidden' salts in foods.
Unilever decided to focus on the brand's low fat content and natural flavourings, in order to cater for the increased consumer demand for healthier snacks, in light of government campaigns for the awareness of rising obesity rates.
"We are continually assessing and improving the nutritional profile of our entire portfolio," said Wendy Barnaville, Unilever UK's nutrition manager. "The salt reduction in Pot Noodle snacks has been a huge initiative for us and we are really proud of the significant changes we've made."
Unilever has said the salt reduction takes the average Guideline Daily Amount percentage of salt per standard sized pot down from 57 per cent to 25 per cent, without affecting the taste.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) claims the UK is leading the world in salt reduction. Its latest survey indicated that members have reformulated £7.4bn worth of products to have lower levels of salt compared to the year before, and £2.4bn worth of products have been launched with lower salt variants.