The government today revealed plans to work with the industry to end widespread ignorance among consumers over the dangers of too much salt in food but stepped back from calls for sweeping new reformulation targets.

The Department of Health wants to cut consumption of salt by a quarter and proposals under The Responsibility Deal include a major crackdown on the catering and takeaway sector.

Supermarkets and suppliers will also work with ministers to draw up promotional activities to nudge customers to reduced-salt options.

However, as exclusively revealed by The Grocer in January, the DH has resisted widespread calls from the health lobby to impose new targets on companies signed up to the existing salt reduction pledges under the deal, despite many missing their targets for 2012.

Instead it said it would work to review targets by the end of 2013. “Our typical shopping basket contains much less salt than it did 10 years ago but more needs to be done to help lower these levels even further,” said health minister Anna Soubry on Tuesday (12 March).

“Through the Responsibility Deal, we are working with the food industry to make sure people are given healthier options with less salt in their favourite foods.

“The voluntary approach is working and we have already seen results in our everyday foods but to get the greatest impact, we need more companies pledging to reduce salt levels, particularly in the catering and takeaway sector.”