The Science of Salt: Industry innovation and best practice in reducing salt in foods

Guest speakers

Over 100 delegates attended ILSI’s symposium – The Science of Salt: Industry innovation and best practice in reducing salt in foods, held in Sydney on July 2 2009, which set out to explore the challenges and opportunities faced by the food industry in reducing salt in processed foods. Professor Andrew Sinclair chaired the meeting, with a broad range of speakers from industry, academic and health backgrounds. Topics discussed on the day included:

  • Setting the Scene – Salt and Health
    Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director at the George Institute for International Health and Chairman of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) set the scene in relation to salt and health.
  • Progress in salt reduction across the Australian Food Industry
    Dr Geoffrey Annison, Deputy Chief Executive at the Australian Food and Grocery Council, provided an overview of the progress by the food industry in reducing salt in foods and then highlighted some of the pros and cons of population versus individual approaches to population health.
  • Technical Approaches to Salt Reduction – Opportunities and Challenges Dr Ingrid Appelqvist from the CSIRO discussed the opportunities and challenges in relation to technical approaches to salt reduction.
  • Salt reduction in practice 
    Dr Jennifer Moss, Director of Research and Development at Unilever, described Unilever’s salt reduction strategy.
  • Salt – the sensory perspective
    Dr Russell Keast from the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing & Behavioural Sciences at Deakin University discussed salt taste and appetite, the flavour effects of salt, salt taste over a lifespan and the implications of salt sensitivity.
  • Salt replacers and enhancers – benefits, applications and challenges
    Melinda Currie from Firmenich outlined two technical solutions for reducing salt in foods: salt replacers and salt enhancers.

The talks were followed by a panel discussion, in which issues such as labeling of salt enhancers, taste preferences in infancy, the use of the term salt versus sodium, the importance of potassium and the difficulties faced in changing consumer behaviours with regards to salt use.