2014 – 2019 Last updated: 21 Sep, 2020

A key initiative in the healthy eating strategic imperative is forming partnerships to enable reduction in salt (sodium) intake in Victoria. The goal of the initiative is to achieve consensus and commitment on salt reduction action from governments, industry and the general public.

Victorians eat too much salt. High salt intakes cause high blood pressure which is the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Salt reduction initiatives are one of the most cost-effective prevention strategies.

Victorians eat too much salt. High salt intakes cause high blood pressure which is the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Salt reduction initiatives are one of the most cost-effective prevention strategies.

In 2014, VicHealth established a Salt Reduction Partnership Group, including The George Institute for Global Health, the Heart Foundation, Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) and the Victorian Department of Health, to review the evidence, consult with stakeholders and develop an action plan for salt reduction in Victoria.

The action plan had the ambitious goal of reducing the average daily salt intake of Victorian adults and children by 1 gram by 2018 with five intervention areas: building strong partnerships, increasing public awareness and debate, strengthening healthy policies, developing innovative approaches within the food industry, and undertaking research, monitoring and evaluation. Launched in May 2015, the action plan The State of Salt: The case for salt reduction in Victoria, was supported by significant investment and a robust evaluation strategy.

Achieving consensus and commitment for action on salt reduction from governments, industry and the public was critical to the success of this initiative.

The innovative approach being taken in Victoria has the potential to provide a best practice example of state-level action on salt reduction, offering a model that can be adopted in other jurisdictions in Australia and abroad.

The State of Salt: The case for salt reduction in Victoria View more

The action plan includes a comprehensive set of actions aimed at gaining consensus and commitment for salt reduction action from governments, the public and industry in Victoria.

 

Download: The State of Salt poster

Download: Supporting evidence document

Download: Economic business case for salt reduction in Victoria

Download: Progress report

Download: Key documents and publications

Unpack the Salt campaign View more

In 2017, the Unpack the Salt campaign was launched with the Heart Foundation to raise awareness about the high levels of salt in processed and packaged foods and provide practical tips to reduce salt intake. As part of the campaign, a range of resources were developed including recipes, consumer guides to support label reading and salt swaps, and case studies to support the food industry to reformulate foods. In addition, a series of product category reports were produced with The George Institute for Global Health, assessing the salt levels in key food categories and changes across time.

 

Download the report: Changes in the sodium levels in savoury snacks 2013-19

Download the report: Salt levels in meat alternatives in Australia (2010-19)

Download the report: Salt levels in children’s meal from four major fast food retailers, 2019

Download the report: Changes in sodium levels of Asian style sauces in Australia (2010-18)

Download the report: Changes in salt levels in cooking sauces, Australia (2010-17)

Download the report: Changes in salt levels in ready meals, Australia (2010-17)

Download the report: Changes in salt levels in chilled dips and crackers, Australia (2010-17)

Download the report: Changes in salt levels in processed meat (2010-17)

Reformulation Readiness: A best practice guide View more

In 2019, Australia’s first salt reformulation guide was launched with the Heart Foundation to support all food manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to develop and implement programs to reduce salt in their products. It guides manufacturers through the reformulation process with information on checking nutritional composition, completing competitor benchmarking, establishing salt targets and timeframes, product improvement and testing.

 

Download: Reformulation Readiness: A best practice guide to salt reduction for Australian food manufacturers

Research and publications View more

A Victorian consumer salt survey was conducted in partnership with Deakin University in 2016 to explore Victorian consumers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to salt intake.

 

Download the report: Victorian consumer survey of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to salt intake