Allied Bakeries rises to salt reduction challenge

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salt reduction, Salt reduction targets, Sodium, Redox

Allied Bakeries' (AB's) group operations director Nick Law has admitted that meeting the 2012 salt reduction guidelines is a "huge challenge" for the firm.

Law said he expected AB to meet the tough targets, but that the company was investigating their feasibility both in terms of consumer acceptance and the impact they would have on the bread-making process.

"It is a huge challenge for us and, fortunately, we have got some of the best bakers and technologists you could ever ask for," ​said Law.

"So we have some of our best minds and boffins looking at it. We have to look at our recipes and our process. And we are looking at it to meet that target."

One of the issues that needs to be addressed, said Law, is the effect salt reduction has on process stability: "It's not easy and it involves doing things differently than we have before."

Many food manufacturers have argued that the voluntary salt reduction targets, set by the Food Standards Agency for 2012, which followed lower targets set for 2010, were a step too far.

While the salt targets for bread and rolls in 2010 were an average of 430mg of sodium per 100g of product, this has been reduced to 400mg (1g of salt) for 2012.

Law said: "Clearly, salt does add flavour to products and there is no doubt that, with the reduction of salt we have already seen, there has been a change in the taste of bread over the past five years."

Earlier this year, AB's chief executive Mark Fairweather, who is president of the Federation of Bakers (FoB), reported that his company had reduced salt in bread by 37% by 2010. But he left open the possibility that the tougher 2012 targets might not be met.

"We will continue to endeavour to reduce salt even further," ​Fairweather said at the FoB's annual lunch. "Reducing salt in bread is not an easy process; salt has a vital role to play in the formation of dough and the characteristics of the final product."

He also warned that cutting it further could reduce shelf-life through increased "staling"​.

Related topics: Bakery

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