Salt intake has fallen by about 1g per person per day over the past decade, benefiting, no doubt, from the Food Standard Agency's salt campaign, but a further 2.5g per person per day still has to be tackled.
This will require a major effort from the parts of industry that are yet to fully engage with the drive to reduce salt (including restaurants and other high street food businesses), as well as from consumers themselves, who need to adapt to eating less salty foods.
It is unclear whether the government plans to provide the necessary support for smaller operators, to enable change in manufacturing and kitchen practices use of less salt and sodium-containing ingredients and change in choice of cooking fat and frying practices (to reduce trans fat levels).
Lack of media campaigns
Further progress will be challenging in the presumed absence of government media campaigns providing consumers with decision support and encouragement.
Provision of meaningful out-of-home calorie labelling another pledge is likely to be a major hurdle for businesses that have yet to develop a framework for establishing and maintaining accurate and appropriate data on the products they sell. We are helping firms with this task and providing information for consumers on weight management but will there be more wide-reaching government initiatives?
Over the next year, pledges on fruits/vegetables and calorie reduction in the food supply have been scheduled. How the latter will work in practice remains unclear, especially as its success is heavily reliant on consumers' behaviour change, although industry has its part to play. The Department of Health paper on obesity timetabled for the summer may throw some light on the government's plans.
Professor Judy Buttriss is director general of the British Nutrition Foundation