Improving nutrition

This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Partnership For The Goals

More taste, less salt

We’re making our products even more delicious, using less salt.

less salt

How much is too much?

Most people agree that salt makes food taste better and it also plays an important role in preserving food. Small amounts of salt (sodium) in the diet are essential, but too much can lead to raised blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one in five adults have blood pressure that’s too high, and this leads to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The WHO recommends a daily intake of no more than 5 g of salt. But around the world, the average person eats 9–12 g a day, roughly twice the recommended amount. In Europe and North America, approximately 75% of salt intake comes from processed foods. And in developing countries, much of the salt consumed is added during cooking or at the table.

We’ve created infographics to help people understand how much salt is too much – for consumers who are looking to cut their salt intake (PDF | 3MB) and chefs who want to help their customers (PDF | 3MB).

Finding better options

More taste, less salt infographic

We support the recommendation of the WHO and have clearly set out our salt reduction position. By 2020, 75% of our Foods will meet salt levels that enable intakes of 5 g per day and in 2019, 70% of our portfolio met this target.

We reduce salt every time one of our existing products is renovated. New products must also meet the target to enable a salt intake of 5 g per day. We improve our foods based on scientifically sound benchmarks and reduce salt levels in a variety of ways, such as through design and by replacing salt with other ingredients.

We’ve found that cutting salt and replacing it with aromas, spices and herbs can actually enhance the salty taste and flavour, and make products more nutritious. This can be combined with using the natural salt replacer, potassium salt.

Spotlight

squeezy mayo

Less salt by design – Hellmann’s drizzle sauces

Whenever we create new recipes, we make sure that they meet our target of less than 750 mg of salt. But this doesn’t make our products any less tasty.

In 2019, we introduced a range of new Hellmann’s drizzle sauces across Europe, with exciting flavours inspired by the fun and taste of street food. All variants have been carefully developed with quality and healthy ingredients to give a multi-sensory food experience.

“Whether people like creamy avocado jalapeño, hummus-style smoked paprika, creamy tzatziki-style mint, sweet and spicy chilli, hot and smokey BBQ, or jalapeño garlic, we’ve got something for all tastes,” explains Esther Van Spronsen, Foods Marketing Director in the Netherlands. “And the best thing is that they’re all brimming with flavour while meeting our salt target.”

This work contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goal

  • Good Health and Wellbeing)

We’ve made good progress in lowering salt across a wide range of products and in a number of markets.

As well as reducing salt in our products, we are committed to encouraging people to make healthier choices through clear labelling and balanced portions.

We advocate for a multi-stakeholder approach in salt reduction working with governments, academia, business and others in the food industry. We have engaged with policy makers in many countries around the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. One example where this has resulted in a positive outcome is in Turkey.

The Turkish Ministry of Health has adopted a salt reduction protocol as part of its Action Plan on Adult and Childhood Obesity that is in line with our Highest Nutrition Standards criteria for sodium. We were recently invited by the Turkish Ministry of Health to speak about our standards at its conference to launch the new protocol.

Spotlight

potassium salt

Advocating for potassium salt

We’ve found that natural alternatives to sodium, like potassium salt (potassium chloride) can help reduce sodium in our products, while maintaining the delicious taste that people expect.

Potassium occurs naturally in milk, fruit, vegetables and grains, and increased intakes of potassium are encouraged in dietary guidelines. This is reflected in a review we published several years ago, which found that replacing sodium with potassium would significantly increase potassium intakes towards recommended daily amounts, without exceeding safety guidelines.

However, some countries don’t allow potassium salt to be used in food products as an alternative to salt. We’re calling for the use of potassium chloride to be permitted as salt substitutes in food products globally. And we want to establish ‘potassium salt’ as the accepted name for consumer-friendly labelling purposes.

We’ve been involved in advocacy efforts around the world. Potassium salt is now permitted for use as a salt substitute in most countries and we continue to engage in countries where this is not yet the case.

This work contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goal

  • Good Health and Wellbeing)
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