Just last month, the Department of Health slammed the
out-of-home sector for its poor response to the call to cut salt
levels in food, which it said was impeding further progress in the
Since 2011, Aviko has removed more than 16 tonnes of salt from its 10 most popular frozen and chilled products - including staples such as its Roast Potatoes, Mash and Herb Dice Potatoes - while newer lines such as Hash Brown Bites, premium Sweet Potato Fries and Garlic & Herb Wedges all meet Food Standards Agency targets.
The urgent need for such salt-safe options was highlighted in a 2013 survey by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health), which launches its 15th Salt Awareness Week next Monday (March 10-16th 2014).
It unearthed "shockingly high levels of salt' in its examination of 664 main meals from 29 popular high street and celebrity restaurants, fast food, pub and cafe chains which, it said, proved chefs were 'still hooked on the white stuff'. More than half (52%) of these meals contained more than 2.4g of salt, while the worst offenders packed in more than the maximum recommended daily allowance of 6g.
Mohammed Essa, General Manager UK and Ireland, Aviko, commented: "Aviko is a keen supporter of Salt Awareness Week and its efforts to educate people on the dangers of eating too much salt. We have actively reduced the salt levels in our products to provide caterers with a range of safe options for menus throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner.
"However, this is only one part of the equation. Crucially, reduced-salt lines such as our Herb Diced Potatoes and Garlic & Herb Wedges - which also fall well below FSA targets - use appetising herbs and spices such as garlic, parsley and basil in place of salt. This allows caterers to really get behind the 'switch the salt' theme of the upcoming Awareness Week with full confidence that they will not disappoint their customers' taste buds."
"It's a substitution customers will appreciate - CASH's research found that 54% of consumers found restaurant meals too salty and 90% thought chefs should let them choose whether or not to add salt to their meal.
As further proof that reduced salt does not translate into reduced taste, Aviko's low-salt mash was the first frozen product to win Craft Guild of Chef endorsement.
Aviko's salt reduction programme is part of its overall CSR drive to achieve sustainable best practice across the board which includes its goals to use 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 and switch to sunflower oil for its specialities, as well as its introduction of ground-breaking LPG 'E-mission Low' lorries which capture and recycle carbon dioxide as a coolant.
Launched in 1999, Salt Awareness Week attracted its highest ever level of support last year, when it generated more than 900 local events and spread worldwide to 22 countries. CASH says its aim of reducing average daily salt intake from a current 8.6g to a maximum 6g for adults would prevent a further 17,500 premature deaths a year and save the economy around £4b.
More details about Salt Awareness Week - along with free posters, leaflets and factsheets - can be viewed at www.actiononsalt.org.uk.