Only 10% of those questioned knew the correct Food Standards Agency dietary target of 6g salt a day in the survey, carried out by TNS. Consumers were also unclear on how much salt was contained in regularly consumed foods and how to use food labels to choose lower salt options.
Only 20% were aware that sodium figures needed to be multiplied by 2.5 to obtain the figure for salt content, while 15% thought the values were the same, significantly underestimating salt intake.
Sainsbury launched a three-year salt reduction programme in November that will initially target five important food areas: pizzas, ready meals, soups, sandwiches and breakfast cereals.
Sainsbury also focused on salt when it launched its Scottish Healthyliving Food Challenge 2004 for secondary school pupils in Scotland this week in conjunction with the British Nutrition Foundation.