Kellogg cuts cereal salt under FSA pressure

Related tags Salt Maize Corn flakes

Kellogg has moved to slash salt in its Corn Flakes by a quarter as
the UK's Food Standards Agency promises to focus in on cereals in
its public campaign to reduce consumer salt intake, reports
Chris Mercer.

The firm said it had also cut a quarter of the salt in all brands based on Corn Flakes, including Frosties and Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. The changed products will be launched this week containing an on-pack 'flash' to alert shoppers to the salt reduction.

The move means a 30g serving of Kellogg's Corn Flakes will now contain 0.55g of salt and Frosties 0.35g, roughly nine per cent and six per cent respectively of the 6g Guideline Daily Amount.

And the strategy helps to make Kellogg look more responsible in front of consumers; something that may help it to fend off increasing private label competition brought on by fierce retailer price cuts.

Kellogg's announcement comes only two weeks after the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it would "work to make more progress on specific categories of foods that tend to contribute most to salt intakes.

"These include pizzas, ready meals, meat and cereal products. The agency will work with industry to set specific salt reduction targets in these and other key foods,"​ it said in its report on the food industry's progress to reduce salt in products.

A joint statement from the FSA and Department of Health, in response the progress report, said the food watchdog would set special targets for 10 key product categories.

Cereals and meat would receive most attention as "these make the biggest contribution to adult salt intakes in the UK,"​ they said.

Yet, opinions appear to differ on the amount of salt breakfast cereals contribute to peoples' daily intake.

"Breakfast cereals on average contribute a very small amount of salt in the diet - no more than five per cent of the average adult salt intake,"​ said Alyson Greenhalgh-Ball, Kellogg's health and well-being manager, citing a 2003 national diet and nutrition survey.

Even so, "we are committed to helping consumers reduce the amount of salt in their diets in line with government policies,"​ she said.

The latest figures show that every day 26 million Britons eat more salt than is good for them with the average adult's daily intake at 9.5g. The FSA wants average intake down to the 6g limit by 2010 and said its public awareness campaign launched last autumn has already spurred a third more people to make a special effort to cut down on salt

Interestingly for food producers, the same FSA survey revealed 27 per cent more people who said salt content would affect their decision to buy a product 'all of the time'.

Kellogg said it supported the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers in its push to get an industry-wide 10 per cent salt reduction in cereals by the end of 2005, "subject to consumer preference"​.

The FSA claimed in its progress report that it had received 49 salt reduction plans from "a range of organisations across the food industry"​, and was waiting on another nine. The agency said it had been in contact with around 65 food industry bodies about cutting salt.

Firms submitting plans include retailers - Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury's - as well as the UK's four main contract caterers and companies, including Heinz, McCain and Kerry Foods.

Both the FSA and the Department of Health said they would continue to increase public awareness and work with the industry on salt reduction, and were looking to develop a five-year framework for self reporting by industry associations.

Related topics Ingredients Kellogg

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