Impact of the UK voluntary sodium reduction targets on the sodium content of processed foods from 2006 to 2011: Analysis of household consumer panel data

Helen Eyles, Jacqui Webster, Susan Jebb, Cathy Capelin, Bruce Neal, Cliona Ni Mhurchu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    36 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: In 2006 the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced voluntary sodium reduction targets for more than 80 categories of processed food. Our aim was to determine the impact of these targets on the sodium content of processed foods in the UK between 2006 and 2011. Method: Household consumer panel data (n > 18,000 households) were used to calculate crude and sales-weighted mean sodium content for 47,337 products in 2006 and 49,714 products in 2011. Two sample t-tests were used to compare means. A secondary analysis was undertaken to explore reformulation efforts and included only products available for sale in both 2006 and 2011. Results: Between 2006 and 2011 there was an overall mean reduction in crude sodium content of UK foods of - 26. mg/100. g (p ≤ 0.001), equivalent to a 7% fall (356. mg/100. g to 330. mg/100. g). The corresponding sales-weighted reduction was - 21. mg/100. g (- 6%). For products available for sale in both years the corresponding reduction was - 23. mg/100. g (p < 0.001) or - 7%. Conclusion: The UK FSA voluntary targets delivered a moderate reduction in the mean sodium content of UK processed foods between 2006 and 2011. Whilst encouraging, regular monitoring and review of the UK sodium reduction strategy will be essential to ensure continued progress.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)555-560
    Number of pages6
    JournalPreventive Medicine
    Volume57
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

    Keywords

    • Food industry
    • Great Britain
    • Legislation
    • Sodium

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