The Heart Foundation is celebrating 15 years of impact with its food reformulation programme, which supports companies in the reduction of salt (sodium) and sugar levels in key food categories.
The Heart Foundation continue to focus on the program, as New Zealanders are currently consuming twice the recommended daily intake of salt, which increases blood pressure and puts kiwis at high risk of heart disease and stroke. However, since its inception, the program has successfully helped reduce salt content in white bread by 25 percent, certain breakfast cereals by 33 percent and a variety of dairy products by up to 40 percent.
“We’ve seen dramatic improvements in some categories, with companies prioritising the changes in lower cost, high selling products. For example, in the bread category, 150 tonnes of salt per annum was removed from targeted white breads in one year. The pleasing thing is that all major companies within a food category are engaged and are reducing sodium levels in their lower cost, top-selling bread.” Said Dave Monro, Chief Advisor Food and Nutrition at the Heart Foundation.
Three-quarters of the salt kiwis consume comes from processed foods, and the Heart Foundation has been working since 2007 to reformulate such products. Meanwhile, the first sugar reduction targets were set in 2016, there are now 13 targets across nine food categories.
“Our company has been working with the Heart Foundation since the bread pilot programme and we see food reformulation as a key part of improving the nutritional value of our products and supporting people to have healthier diets.” Said Sandra McInnes, Regulatory Manager for Goodman Fielder.
The food reformulation programme is supported by funding from the Ministry of Health and hopes to make kiwis healthier.