PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Retailers and food manufacturers will finance new research in an effort to find ways to reduce levels of salt in food, it has been announced.
The work, commissioned by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Food and Drink Federation (FDF), will aim to find new solutions to lower the salt content in products while maintaining flavour and preservation properties.
The Government's Public Health Responsibility Deal, launched in England in March, included a commitment to reduce salt levels by another 15% by the end of 2012, compared with 2010. In some cases this will only be possible if new techniques are found to help preserve and flavour food, the BRC said.
Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, deputy food director of the BRC, said: "Our members have made fantastic progress reducing the levels of salt in food in recent years.
"In some cases we've come as far as we can without help from science. The fact retailers are choosing to spend their own money looking for new solutions shows how seriously they take their commitment to public health.
"If salt is reduced further there's a danger that products will no longer taste the way customers want them to. It's pointless to put this much effort into reducing salt as an ingredient if consumers simply add a large amount themselves.
"We also need to find ways of preserving food effectively so it doesn't go to waste."
Terry Jones, of the FDF, said: "Food manufacturers have already gone to great lengths to reduce the salt content of many of the UK's much-loved brands while keeping the great taste that consumers demand.
"Nevertheless, with the challenging 2012 targets on the horizon, we are funding this work on behalf of our members to identify and assess technical solutions to further reduce salt in key categories."