Monday 5 October 2009
In order to raise awareness of salt as a public health issue, and inform consumers how to lower their intakes, the FSA has been running a public awareness campaign since 2004 with supporting consumer-focused information on our websites.
The fourth phase of our consumer messaging on salt began on 5 October 2009. The campaign highlights the positive changes consumers can make to reduce their salt intake. Key messages include:
- most of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods
- you can lower your salt intake by checking the labels to compare products, and choosing the option lower in salt
- we should aim to have no more than 6g salt per day, and children under 11 should have less than this
The FSA has already run three phases of its public awareness campaign. The first phase was launched in September 2004, with the key aim of ensuring that consumers were aware of why too much salt is bad for their health. The second phase of the campaign was launched in October 2005, with the main messages focusing on encouraging consumers to check food labels for information on the salt content and to raise awareness of the aim to eat no more than 6g of salt a day.
The third phase of the campaign was launched in March 2007. The message focused on informing consumers that 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods as well as encouraging and enabling them to choose products with lower levels of salt.
All three phases of the campaign focused on women aged 35-65. Although men are more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke, women continue to be the 'gatekeepers' with regard to buying and preparing food in family households in the UK, hence the focus on this group. A range of media has been used to deliver the messages, including TV advertising, posters, articles in the women's press and national newspapers as well as news coverage.
In addition to our online consumer-focused information, all three phases of the campaign have produced materials for consumers, such as leaflets and credit-card-sized prompts, to help increase their awareness of the issues and the action they can take to reduce salt intake.
For phases two and three, work has also been undertaken by a range of stakeholders – both in the food industry and non-governmental organisations – to get the campaign messages across to hard-to-reach groups.
Evaluation of the campaign, through monitoring changes in consumers' claimed behaviour, suggests that:
- the number of consumers cutting down on salt has increased by around one-third
- there has been a 10-fold increase in awareness of the 6g a day message
- the number of consumers trying to cut down on salt by checking labels has doubled
|See the salt campaign TV ads|