In the latest step along its Good Food Journey, Woolworths has announced that it has reformulated many of its recipes to gradually reduce the salt content used in making over 100 of its own-brand products which has resulted in a dramatic reduction of 35.2 tons of salt. These include breads, cereals and deli meats, as well as biltong, cheese, boerewors, fish, party snacks and some of its frozen foods. This follows the retailer’s recent announcement that it has removed trans fat from hydrogenated vegetable oils from many of its products. “The figure of 35.2 tons represents the amount by which we’ve reduced the amount of sodium chloride (salt) that would have been used annually, mostly in making our breads, cereals and cold meats,” Woolworths Head of Food Technology, Cecil Mitchell explains, adding that the retailer will continue reformulating many of its recipes to reduce salt levels in other foods in the near future. “Too much salt in our diets may contribute to the risk of developing certain diseases such as high blood pressure,” Mitchell says. “Recent research here in South Africa revealed that, along with cereals and processed meat, bread – particularly white bread – is a major contributor of salt in many people’s diet. By reformulating our bread recipes we’ve significantly been able to reduce by nearly 20 tons the amount of salt we would have used in our breads in a year based on average weekly sales.” What about the taste? Mitchell is emphatic. “You won’t be able to taste a difference,” he says. ENDS __________________________________________________________________ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What’s the difference between salt and sodium? Salt, or sodium chloride, is a chemical compound made up of the minerals sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl); 1 g ordinary table salt contains 394 mg sodium. In other words, table salt is approximately 40% sodium. Do we need sodium in our diet? Sodium is an essential mineral that cannot be produced by the body. Salt – including sodium chloride or table salt helps maintain the body’s fluid balance. Does sodium occur naturally in foods? Sodium is naturally present in most agricultural products, but the content may vary due to influences such as soil condition. Various common additives also contribute sodium in processed foods as the additives are often sodium salts. For example sodium nitrate is used in curing meat and sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in sauces and concentrated cordials. What foods commonly contribute high levels of sodium? A study reported in 2005 that bread is the main source of sodium in the South African diet. Fast foods, cured meats and salty snacks also often contain high levels of sodium. In addition, many dehydrated foods – such as instant soups, instant sauces and other foods that are reconstituted by adding water – also contain high levels of sodium. What’s the recommended daily requirement for sodium Recommended daily sodium intake should be less than 2 400 mg per day. This equates to about 6 grams of ordinary table salt – that’s a little more than a teaspoon. However, there are variations in the way salt affects different people. Some people may require slightly higher levels, while others are very sensitive to salt content in food. Reducing the amount of “hidden” salt in food will help individuals adapt their intake to suit their needs. What is the Good Food Journey? The Good Food Journey is the name we’ve given to our ongoing quest to offer South Africa food that’s better for our customers, better for the environment and better for the people who produce it. It encompasses everything from removing additives like tartrazine and MSG from our foods, switching to more natural flavourants, and offering more organic and free range choices to caring for the welfare of animals and promoting healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle. The most recent milestone was the announcement that Woolworths has removed trans fat from hydrogenated vegetable oils from its fresh prepared food ranges. Issued on behalf of: Woolworths Issued by: liquidlingo Communications Contact: Tanya Pangalele / Jackie Busch +27 21 424 1530