Samworth says 2012 targets 'may be a step too far'

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salt reduction, Salt reduction targets, Nutrition, Trans fat

Manufacturers may struggle to reach 2012 health targets
Manufacturers may struggle to reach 2012 health targets
Chilled convenience manufacturer Samworth Brothers is working to cut the levels of salt and saturated fat in its food products, despite not making a pledge to do so under the government's Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD).

The company is investigating what is feasible from both technical and consumer acceptance standpoints.

For salt reduction specifically, it is working with all the major retailers to which it supplies own-label products to see what is practicable. Some have set tougher targets than others, said Samworth's chief executive Brian Stein.

"We are working behind the scenes [to reduce sat fats and salt] before we start making commitments, to see what we can and can't do," ​said Stein. "We've made significant reductions in salt. But my nervousness at the moment is that, in one or two areas, we might have gone too far."

Under the list of companies and their pledges published on the PHRD section of the Department of Health's web site, Samworth has signed up to pledges on: artificial trans fats removal; occupational health standards; healthier staff restaurants; active travel; and physical activity in the workplace.

Stein is undecided yet whether the 2012 salt reduction targets under the PHRD are achievable or a step too far. "A little while ago I thought they might be too far,"​ said Stein. "We are working away at the moment; I think we will get close, but as to whether we will be able to hit them we might not be able to."

He added that Samworth expected to be able soon to make a formal statement on what reductions it intended to make. "We are working very hard in the areas of health and you will see some changes to our claims in the very near future,"​ said Stein.

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