Contribution of Product Reformulation to the EU Salt Campaign: Empirical Evidence from the UK

Voluntary reformulation of food products by the industry is one of the key pillars of the EU Salt Campaign aimed at reducing the daily salt intake in the population. Using the National Diet and Nutrition Surveys in the UK a decade apart, this paper applies regression-based counterfactual decomposition methods to quantify the contribution of product reformulation to reduction in the salt intake observed in the UK. We find that ongoing product reformulation efforts have made a significant contribution to a reduction in the salt intake of the UK population. The significant contribution of reformulation to reduction in salt intakes is in sharp contrast to the results for calories and macronutrients such as fats and sugars where reformulation appears to have a very limited impact on population level intakes. The contribution of different product groups to reduction in salt intake varies substantially across the quantiles of salt intakes. We find that certain product groups which are usually not perceived as being major contributors to excessive salt intakes (e.g., cereals and egg dishes) are important drivers of salt consumption across all segments. However, the differences in the food-product preference across population segments suggests that product-reformulation efforts may have to be targeted at different product groups to influence the salt intakes of different segments.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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