Asda cuts a swathe through own brands in salt assault

10 February, 2006

HUNDREDS OF ASDA recipes including products containing meat will be revised to reduce additives and ingredients following 650 reductions in fat, salt and sugar in 2005.

The supermarket claims a weekly shop could now have 24 per cent less salt than exactly the same basket of groceries did a year ago.

ASDA claims its premium hams have had on average a 15 per cent salt reduction and its frozen mega meat feast pizza now has 40 per cent less salt. Its own brand chicken roll now contains two grams less salt per pack and salt levels in its frozen sausages are down by 20 per cent.

Last year ASDA's entire range of Smartprice economy food was reformulated and amounts of sugar, salt and fat were reduced in economy products like beef burgers. ASDA claims its customers now consume 212 tonnes less fat, 135 tonnes less sugar and 198 tonnes less salt.

Sue Malcolm, ASDA's nutrition manager, said: "With the ASDA Food Pledge we have committed to make our food healthier, with no compromise to taste, quality or price. In the last five years we have removed over 1,000 tonnes of salt alone." Further announcements are due, heralding reductions in crisps, cereals and in pizzas.

The retailer said it was working closely with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to agree realistic UK targets for salt.

Not alone

Other supermarkets say they too are monitoring levels of sugar, salt and fat in store products. A spokesman for Somerfield said its on-going strategy was now aimed at reducing salt content by 10 per cent in new products over the next five years. Recipes are checked and reformulated every 18 months in relation to other major retailers and manufacturers.

Somerfield's Good Intentions healthy product range has had a three per cent reduction in fat, salt and sugar content.

Morrison's said it continues to reduce salt levels in its own-label foods and has already made significant progress. "We have compiled our target list by identifying the highest selling products and targeting the ones that contain the highest levels of salt. Products have also been tasted to ensure the quality has not been impaired."

Sainsbury's said: "In November 2003 we announced a three-year strategy for reducing salt in five key product categories of own-brand foods: pizzas, ready meals, soups, sandwiches and breakfast cereals. At the time we set initial upper limits for salt for these products, and committed to set further targets for the subsequent two years."

Tesco claims to have reduced salt content in a variety of foods. These include ready meals, with over 150 now with less salt. Among them Beef Lasagne, 55 per cent less salt; Chicken Paella, 57 per cent less salt; and Frozen Chicken Jalfrezi with Pilau Rice 50 per cent less salt.

Carolyn Bradley, Tesco Commercial Director, said: "We've worked hard to reduce salt so those who want to cut down can. The challenge we face is to reduce salt...while continuing to meet customer expectations on taste, quality and price."

Other supermarkets say they too are monitoring levels of sugar, salt and fat in store products. A spokesman for Somerfield said its on-going strategy was now aimed at reducing salt content by 10 per cent in new products over the next five years. Recipes are checked and reformulated every 18 months in relation to other major retailers and manufacturers.

Somerfield's Good Intentions healthy product range has had a three per cent reduction in fat, salt and sugar content.

Morrison's said it continues to reduce salt levels in its own-label foods and has already made significant progress. "We have compiled our target list by identifying the highest selling products and targeting the ones that contain the highest levels of salt. Products have also been tasted to ensure the quality has not been impaired."

Sainsbury's said: "In November 2003 we announced a three-year strategy for reducing salt in five key product categories of own-brand foods: pizzas, ready meals, soups, sandwiches and breakfast cereals. At the time we set initial upper limits for salt for these products, and committed to set further targets for the subsequent two years."

Tesco claims to have reduced salt content in a variety of foods. These include ready meals, with over 150 now with less salt. Among them Beef Lasagne, 55 per cent less salt; Chicken Paella, 57 per cent less salt; and Frozen Chicken Jalfrezi with Pilau Rice 50 per cent less salt.

Carolyn Bradley, Tesco Commercial Director, said: "We've worked hard to reduce salt so those who want to cut down can. The challenge we face is to reduce salt...while continuing to meet customer expectations on taste, quality and price."





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