Fresh herb suppliers have launched a bold campaign to encourage people to use less salt - and more herbs - in their cooking.

The £100,000 2008 Fresh Herbs campaign, which is being run by the Fresh Herbs Group, will push the message that herbs are a healthy alternative to salt and a good way of helping people reduce their salt consumption. It will specifically target 'young professionals' by showcasing easy ways to add herbs to everyday meals.

"We are showing how to use herbs in a quick-and-easy format, such as adding to ready meals or on baked potatoes," said Mathew Prestwich, chairman of the British Herb Trade Association and partner at R&G Fresh Herbs.

The key to encouraging more people to use herbs was recipes or recommendations rather than price promotions or cross-promotions, he said.

During the campaign, consumers will be given tips on how to use the top six selling herbs, with a suggested four or five uses for each. The focus will initially be basil, coriander, curly and flat parsley and mint, which together account for about 70% of retail herb sales. But as the campaign continues into next year there are plans for a greater emphasis on lesser-used herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, dill and oregano.

Special promotions to coincide with significant calendar dates such as Easter and Bonfire Night and a presence at the Innocent Fete in Regents Park in August will accompany a consumer media and online advertising campaign.

The Fresh Herbs Group, whose seven members account for 90% of fresh culinary herbs sold in UK supermarkets, is also hoping to confirm the endorsement of a major female celebrity, who will provide support at herb workshops.

Sales of fresh herbs are currently growing 15% by volume year-on-year.